500th Grant Recipient



MIAMI, FLA - How does one survive when two of the basic functions for life, breathing and eating, are compromised?  

Yamelys Gonzalez

Yamelys Gonzalez of Pembroke Pines does it everyday in facing the struggles of Cystic Fibrosis (CF).  Exercise is a critical part of her ability to fight the disease not only physically, but mentally as well.  In June 2014, Gonzalez was awarded a CF Recreation Grant to help her afford a gym membership to utilize exercise as one of the many treatments to keep her lungs clear of mucus, and her attitude positively empowered.  Today Yamelys is 24; almost what her life expectancy was when she was born in 1990.

The Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation (CFLF) will be celebrating Ms. Gonzalez as the 500th CF Recreation Grant Recipient at the University of Miami’s Batchelor Children’s Research Institute – Cystic Fibrosis Center.  A short video on the life of Ms. Gonzalez will be premiered and she will be presented with recognition of her ongoing effort to live stronger and longer with the disease.




About Yamelys 

Yamelys has always enjoyed a variety of physical activities, from salsa dancing, to rock climbing, to tennis and yoga.  She has found that the benefits of exercise on her lung function is tremendous and that there is a huge increase in her PFT’s when she’s following a regular cardio regimen, like kick boxing. Regular exercise not only helps her lungs but it also helps her build muscle and increase her appetite.  Kick-boxing has especially given her more energy, which has made all the things that come with having CF easier.  

Besides the physical benefits, she has found that exercise also has great mental benefit.  Being active eases her mind about getting sicker, or one day needing a lung transplant, since staying strong and healthy helps reduce those possibilities.  Yamelys also enjoys going to the gym and taking fitness classes because she meets new people, which helps inspire and motivate her to keep it up.  She even became a personal trainer so she could pursue as much knowledge as possible involving the benefits and types of exercise.  Yamelys chose to use her Recreation Grant to pay for a one-year gym membership at her local gym.


About the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation (CFLF)

The CFLF is an independent 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that assists in providing avenues toward healthy and active lifestyles through recreation, thereby empowering and educating people with Cystic Fibrosis on the critical psychological, social, and emotional connections between their lifestyle and their health. 

With the tagline “Living Stronger! Living Longer!”, the founder and adult with Cystic Fibrosis, Brian Callanan seeks to provide better quality of life through active lifestyles.  Having bicycled from Canada to Key West in 2006, Callanan raised funds to begin providing financial assistance to the CF community for pursuing exercise-based activities as a supplemental means of clearing the lungs, but also becoming stronger socially and emotionally in dealing with the disease.  

In 2013, the organization relocated its headquarters from Vermont to Miami Beach with Callanan pursuing the known benefit of salt water on clearing airway congestion.  Since the program began in 2007, over $320,000 has been provided nationally to over 600 patients nationally for direct assistance with activity related costs.                                                          


About Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that has a chronic and terminal affect on the lungs and digestive system.  Only a few decades ago, people with CF were not expected to reach their 10th birthday.  But today, people like Yamelys are likely to live into their 40s, and beyond.  With only 30,000 cases in the United States, CF is considered an orphan disease, with limited awareness and public support.  As a primarily Caucasian disease, South Florida presents a region with greater awareness of a Latino CF population.

The disease is most commonly marked by the chronic congestion of airways with thick and sticky mucus and the compromised ability to digest and absorb food. Complications also include the development of CF related diabetes, arthritis, liver and kidney problems, isolation, depression and anxiety.  Patients must endure a regimen of chest physiotherapy twice daily, handfuls of digestive enzyme capsules and vitamin supplements, as well as nebulized medications, IV antibiotics, insulin shots, and frequent hospitalizations.

While there is currently no cure for the fatal disease, exciting medical advancements, along with patient support programs like the CFLF Recreation Grants, enable patients to continually see a longer and brighter future.  

To learn more visit www.CFLF.org, or call us at (802) 310-5983 



To schedule an Interview, please contact:

Brian Callanan (Founder & Executive Director)




Yamelys Gonzalez




Matthais Salathe, M.D. (University of Miami, Adult CF Center Director)



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