Interview with Lauren Luteran

Posted by: 
Julie Winn
Lauren Luteran

A few weeks ago CFLF Founder, Brian Callanan and I had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren Luteran who is a two time CFLF Grant Recipient. Lauren received Recreation Grants in 2014 and 2015 for dancing lessons when she was 14 and 15 years old. Lauren is now 19-years-old and was recently a contestant on the hit show, So You Think You Can Dance. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see her performance that wowed the judges, please stay tuned to the end of her interview to see the stunning performance yourself.



After a brief introduction in the interview about our work at the CFLF, we got right into asking Lauren some questions about her dance career and her experience on So You Think You Can Dance.


So, hi, Lauren how are you?

I’m wonderful!


How old were you when you started dancing?

Seems like forever ago. I was five when I started dancing. At the age of six years old I got into the competitive world. Around thirteen, I started taking dancing more seriously. It became something I literally couldn't live without. I live and breathe the dance studio, I’m constantly there.


How old were you when you were diagnosed with CF?

5 months old


What or who inspires you to dance?

That is such a hard question because there are so many people who inspire me to dance, I have numerous mentors and teachers from the past and present that have helped led me to where I am, so I give them credit. As well as one of my dance idols. I did a Make-A-Wish about three or four years ago now. It was with Travis Walsh. He is probably my number one, I love him.

Do you play any other sports?

I try to cross-train, and go to the gym. I like going for walks and swimming, but not really any other sports. I just dance.


How has receiving a CFLF Recreation Grant impacted your dance career and life with CF?

I was doing a lot of dance competitions and conventions and it got very expensive and pricey, because there is a lot being involved in a team. You have to pay for costumes, fees, and more so receiving those grants was nice to have that break financially and just be able to train. I didn’t want to give up dance just because I didn’t have the money for it, so the CFLF Grant helped a lot. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do this show without the CFLF Grant.


How has exercise in general impacted your health?

For me it helps me more mentally than physically. I know it’s weird, because you would think dance would be better for me physically because it brings up the secretions and does what it needs to do for CF, but it helps me more mentally because it takes my mind off of a lot. Knowing that I can go the studio and take my mind and heart in that space and express who I am without a label and title of cystic fibrosis, and that I’m just Lauren. That is what makes it so impactful and it’s helped shaped me into where I am now.


What are some of the things that keep you thriving with CF?

Dance. Besides dance I love writing. I found a deep passion for writing recently. Getting into my field, and my major is journalism communications at school. I enjoy it a lot. I also love public speaking. I didn’t even know that I loved pubic speaking until I did the show, but really felt like I was in my element and loved it. The biggest thing in my life is people. It’s a weird answer because you would think it would be a thing or object, but it’s definitely humans that keep me going and inspire and motivate me to get out of bed everyday and give back in life, which is my goal, to give back because it’s the most fulfilling thing for me.


What would you tell other people with CF who want to follow their dreams?

Life is a journey. It comes and goes in waves. Life is a roller coaster. There is a quote I love from The Fault in Our Stars movie, “life’s a roller coaster that only goes up” and I think it’s so true. Even though difficult times and having CF which is not easy. It’s a weird illness because it’s not visible to everyone. No one sees what goes on behind the scenes. It’s an internal struggle, it’s not external compared to other illnesses. There is always something to fight for, always something to strive for. Life is short, sadly. Why waste any opportunity. Take it and run with it.


Tell us about your experience with So You Think You Can Dance. What made you decide to try-out and where are you now in the competition?

I started watching the show when I was seven. It was my favorite show and I would watch it religiously. I was glued to the screen the whole time watching it. I told myself I was going to go on the show and here I am and seeing myself on the screen now, is so weird for me. People on the show I met through Make-A-Wish helped nudge and encourage me to do the show. Being on the show was a very eye opening and interesting experience and definitely memorable for sure.


Where do you hope your dance career will go?

Honestly, I’m in a place in my life where I am going to be twenty, and I’m just taking up every opportunity I get. I am soaking everything up. Everything goes by so quickly and experiences go by faster than I thought. I love making connections with people I meet through dance. Continue to grow, continue to be a student. It’s so important for an athlete to be open to being a student. I feel like when people get older they get this mindset that I’m too good to be the young learner and in every experience in dance or any sport it’s important to continue growing, learning, and working on your craft.


What are you looking forward to achieving in the future?

Continue doing anything dance related. Definitely finishing up college, getting my bachelors in journalism communications. Another goal of mine is to write a book. I also want to start a non-profit at some point in my life. I am open to a lot!


Tell us about your CF advocacy work.

I worked with the CF Foundation a couple years ago volunteering and never really thought I would enjoy volunteering as much as I did, but working with the CFF helped me learn a lot more about CF and different people and it was really interesting for me to get a viewpoint working from behind the scenes. I’m so glad that I’m aware of what’s going on in the CF community and I’m a part of it, because it’s special. I feel it, there’s a cure. There’s a new drug that just came out from Vertex, and it’s the hype in the CF community right now. Technology is crazy.


Getting to "meet" Lauren Luteran was an honor. Not only is Lauren an amazing athlete, she has a great personality and has such a positive outlook on life. She truly is inspirational and exemplifies what living #STROLO (STROnger and LOnger) means for people with cystic fibrosis. Her dancing is mesmerizing and beautiful, and I truly enjoyed watching her performances. Lauren is a great role model for others with CF and for others facing a chronic illness or other challenges in life, showing that there is no limit to what you can do when you put your heart and soul into it.

As someone who works behind-the-scenes for the CFLF, providing communications and marketing support, I don't always get to engage and interact with Grant Recipients on a regular basis. A lot of my work is focused on CFLF's fundraising campaigns and generating support online. When we reach a fundraising goal, and I see all the individual people who have generously contributed to any given campaign, I see the enormous impact it has on the lives of people with CF. I see the connection between the donor and the grant recipient. I see how our work at the CFLF has actually changed people's lives for the better. Lauren Luteran received two CFLF Recreation Grants for dancing. Her success as a dancer was achieved by all of her hard work and perseverance. But, I also recognize that her success is also connected to the generous support of the numerous donors who supported the CFLF and helped fund those Recreation Grants for dancing. Every time someone donates to the CFLF it directly impacts someone with cystic fibrosis, like it did with Lauren. That is why this Giving Season, I would encourage you to give what you can to the CFLF, so we can help turn more dreams into reality. 


Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER-




Julie Winn is a long time volunteer turned contractor for the CFLF, providing social media and marketing support to the organization. She has attended many of CFLF Fundraising events over the years, and is also active with other non-profit organizations in Vermont. She lives in South Burlington with her spouse and child and enjoys hiking, swimming, traveling and spending time in the great outdoors. 





***Views expressed in the CFLF Blog are those of the bloggers themselves and not necessarily of the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation*** 


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