December 17 2013

Nicole Matthews

“Life is like a rose… there are thorns but it is still beautiful.”

I have always been a part of the CF community. Diagnosed at 22 months, I grew up knowing that I was just a little bit different, so I decided to really take part in the community into which I was born. My parents and I started our first CF Great Strides team when I was just 8 years old. My positive, can’t-quit attitude stems from this tremendous support that my parents gave me from the very beginning.

In spite of my family’s undying support and love, I did struggle when I was younger. Many of my teachers did not understand the seriousness of CF, and often thought that I was ‘faking it.’ In grade school, most of my young classmates did not understand me either and thought my constant cough was contagious. Luckily, as I grew up, more and more kids accepted me for who I was and not for my disease.

Now I am happier than ever. I teach ice skating, am an EMT and volunteer fire fighter, and have even written a book. My boyfriend has inspired me to look to the future – marriage, kids, the whole ‘perfect picture.’ I have made it a point to live my life to the fullest and count every single day as a blessing, and I encourage all of those with CF to do the same.

Color: purple
Food: mashed potatoes
Holiday: Christmas
Movie: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Musical Artist: Lady Gaga
Sports teams: The Bills and the Sabers

If I could visit anywhere in the world, I would go to… Germany.
Most people call me… Nicki or Smiley.
My friends and family would describe me as… entertaining.

If I could give someone recently diagnosed with CF any advice, it would be:
Don’t expect the worst. Stay involved in as many things as you can – the busier you are, the healthier you will be. And always remember that I am always here to talk!