April 12 2012

Phil Wenwrich

‘Four wheels to move the body, two wheels to stir the soul.”

I was diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis – six months after my parents lost my older brother to the same disease. In spite, and because of, this tragedy, my parents moved forward, becoming some of the first people to raise funds and awareness about cystic fibrosis.

As a child, I remember my mother being overly protective, while my father encouraged me to live a normal life and to never slow down – a combination of lessons that made me who I am today.  In my youth, I have to admit, I was not completely compliant with the treatments available to me. I played baseball, which helped my health, but I also lived in a state of denial about my disease. While my neighbors and friends expected me to pass on at the age of 12 – the same age as my brother – I simply lived my life as normally as possible and ignored the negativity that surrounded me.

When I was old enough, I decided to apply for an out of state policy academy and not disclose any information about my disease. With an iron will, I was able to pass the physical, at which point I began my career on the police force, where I have served as a patrol officer, a narcotics detective, a criminal investigator, and, my true passion, as a motorcycle cop. Being on a motorcycle allows me to escape from my reality for a time and to feel true freedom from cystic fibrosis.

The most important thing in my life beyond riding motorcycles is my family, my two daughters who, I am proud to say, are both in police enforcement. Because of cystic fibrosis, I have closely bonded with them both, trying to fit in every and any father-daughter experiences possible – using my time as wisely as I can. My greatest achievement is being a parent – it is the hardest job and the most rewarding.

I have cystic fibrosis, and, while I try to remain medically and physically compliant, I will always live my life doing the things that matter most – loving my daughters and riding motorcycles, feeling freedom.

My favorite hobbies, other than riding, are… martial arts and hand gun shooting.
My favorite song is… The Wind Beneath my Wings by Bette Midler because it reminds me of my daughters.
My favorite color is… blue.
My favorite food is… pizza.
My favorite holiday is… Christmas.
My favorite movies are… The Harry Potter series.
If I could visit anywhere in the world, I would… visit Paris.
My daughter tells me I am… driven (but actually uses the word crazy).
To anyone with cystic fibrosis… Be compliant with your treatments because it will cost you years trying to play catch up.