A Ray of Hope

Posted by: 
Martha Garvey

Everyday, for about an hour every morning and every evening, I’ve been attached to an airway clearance machine. Its nothing new to me. It’s as much of a routine as brushing my teeth at the beginning and end of each day.

Growing up I hated doing treatments. My brother and I often hid in our basement from our parents to try and get out of doing them. Due to health insurance reasons most CF families only had one machine so we would take turns and wait for the other to finish so neither of us would be alone.

I don’t like to say or admit that cystic fibrosis has ever held me back from anything but it definitely has made things challenging. Treatments were always the pain in the butt reason as to why I couldn’t do something. I rarely had sleepovers as a kid, left social gatherings early and couldn’t even have impromptu sleepovers at my grandmas house unless I had planned it out earlier and had my vest machine.

As social and open as I am about having CF, treatments are something I have never been too eager to show off. To an outsider these treatments are loud, aggressive, and disturbing. What once was a family affair eventually became an isolating chore behind closed doors during my college years. It wasn’t that I was ashamed or embarrassed. I just assumed it was distributive to my roommates or, if nothing else, distracting. No one needed to see me hack up a lung.

Today the machines have advanced over the years. My first machine was the size of a washing machine and so incredibly loud that I remember not being able to watch TV while using it. I was plugged into the wall, usually sitting on a couch, waiting for the last bell to go off to signal my freedom. The vest machines are smaller now, about the size of a boombox and somewhat quieter. They also come in travel cases on wheels which is a game changer!

I recently received the newest airway clearance vest machine called The Monarch. It's the first of its kind, working off rechargeable battery packs and pin pointing specific problem areas of the lungs. The best part is I am no longer sitting in one place, tethered to a wall for hours everyday. This might not seem like much, but to me this is everything. I’m no longer at the mercy of a plug-in outlet! The funny thing is, this is something I never even imagined as a kid. I never pictured doing vest treatments away from a wall.

I wanted to post about this because well for starters I am so happy and excited but I also want to thank anyone who has ever donated their time or money to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

If you ever walked with me and my family in the great strides fundraiser, for team Ray of Hope, or your own team, you’re part of the reason why this medical advancement was possible! This may not be the cure to CF I’m holding out for, but it’s proof that there are great strides being made within the foundation and CF community. These advancements make life better, and make life beautiful. What you do with your time and money matters. There’s always a Ray of Hope if you look hard enough.


Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER- 




Martha is currently 24 years old and was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth. She is an outdoor recreation educator by day and an aspiring stand-up comedian at night. Martha maintains an active lifestyle by snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking and paddling on the beautiful lakes of Minnesota. She is also a former CFLF Recreation Grant Recipient. Follow her adventure on Instagram at @marthagarvey






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

***Please speak with your physician before making any changes to your CF management***



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