Finding Connections. Fighting Together

Posted by: 
Martha Garvey

My older brother Ray was also born with CF. He was the only person I knew with CF for most of my life. You could say he was my CF role model since Ray was five years older. He got a picc line before me, was hospitalized before me and gave me a heads up on the nasty glucose intolerance tests that were coming my way. We did everything together, from swimming lessons, to vest treatments, to chugging weight gain shakes, to doing PFTs. Ray was my partner in crime. He was brave, kind and strong, everything you needed to be as a kid with CF.

Ray passed away in 2001 from a heart condition. My life changed forever. I felt alone in more ways than one. I was now fighting our disease by myself. It would be another 14 years before I would meet or talk to another person with CF.

I happen to be at a party in college when a friend introduced me to a boy named Zach. Turns out Zach had CF too! We got to talking and we discovered we went to the same CF clinic, had some of the same doctors, shared hospital horror stories, compared picc line scars and both decided Mary Jo was hands down our favorite CF nurse when we were in pediatrics. It was a connection I didn’t even know I wanted or needed.

For the first time in forever someone “just got it." Someone knew what I was going through. Zach and I are still friends to this day. We both graduated from the same college and now stay in touch on a weekly, if not daily basis via texts and Snapchat. I don’t know if CF best friends are a thing, but he’s mine.

No one will ever be able to replace my brother, that goes without say. He will forever be my Ray of hope and inspiration to fight this disease. But meeting Zach and forming a friendship has been incredible. I can’t express what the CF community means to me now. Social media has really opened my eyes to other CF fighters and families. This disease can feel isolating, (now more than ever with COVID-19) but it’s nice having access to other people who “just get it."

I am so thankful for the CFLF and the way it has connected me to others who can relate to my story on a level that no one else can. I have seen so many motivational CF warriors on social media these last few years that it’s hard not to be inspired.


  Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER-




Martha Garvey is a 26-year-old with cystic fibrosis. She was diagnosed at birth. She lives in Minnesota and works as a college instructor for young adults with autism. In Martha’s free time she is busy snowboarding, playing hockey, kayaking, or playing with her dog Charlie. Follow Martha on instagram at @SaltyGirlSunnyWorld





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