STROLO Star: Martha Garvey

Posted by: 
Julie Winn

The STROLO Star program is a quarterly spotlight of bright stars in the CFLF community. This program aims to share more stories from members of our CFLF community, including Recreation Grant recipients, volunteers, CFLF board members, CFLF Blog writers, STROLO-U instructors, sponsors, and more.

This Winter we had the opportunity to speak with the talented and inspirational, Martha Garvey.

Martha is a twenty-seven year old who has cystic fibrosis. She lives in Minnesota and works as a college instructor for young adults with autism. She is a four-time CFLF Grant Recipient who received Recreation Grants in 2012, 2013, 2018, and 2020 for snowboarding. Martha enjoys staying active with snowboarding, playing hockey, kayaking and playing with her dog, Charlie.

We’ve included just a brief part of the interview we had with Martha on this blog post, and you can watch the full interview below.


Brian: Martha, how has the past year been for you with the pandemic, how are you holding up?

Martha: Last year has been interesting, weird, all of the above. I am very fortunate that I’ve been able to still work for my full time job as a college instructor. So work hasn’t been negatively impacted. I teach young adults with autism at a college in the twin cities. We had to switch to online platforms like the majority of people. I was able to keep my job and I’ve been doing okay. It’s kind of weird. I consider 2020 to be my healthiest year in the last decade or so. And I know how weird that sounds and I don’t mean to be insensitive during a global pandemic, but it’s been due to medical advancements in the CF community. I’ve been able to benefit and I feel very fortunate compared to other people’s situations. So I try to take that with me throughout the year that things could be worse. I’m grateful for my health, and I’m doing everything I can to keep it that way.


Tiffany: What or who inspires you?

Martha: That’s a good question. First thing that always pops in my head if I’m asked that, is definitely my family. My mom and dad have done such an amazing job. I’m forever indebted to them for how much they sacrificed and did to take care of me and my brother. My brother also had cystic fibrosis so they put us on a platform basically to take care of us. They did everything for us. Bringing us to soccer practice, baseball practice, making our neb cups, feeding us home cooked meals that had all the extra calories. I’m pretty compliant as a twenty seven year old, and treatments and life can still be difficult, so I don’t know how they managed two young kids that fought every medication and treatment. They inspire me to continue to take good care of myself because they did so much for me growing up. It would be so disrespectful, just a slap in the face, not to continue their hard work. That’s how I’ve always viewed it.  And then my brother definitely inspires and motivates me. He passed away in 2001 from a heart condition, not related to CF at all. He was such a spunky go-getter. He loved life. He loved doing any activity. Being outside, running around. He thought medical advancements were super cool. He had at home IV’s several times and he was just blown away, they call it the grenade IV that just slowly deflates, and that was amazing to him. So out of respect for him, he inspires me and I try to honor his life by appreciating the things that he didn’t get to experience, and other people in the CF community that were taken too soon. Just not take things for granted. I got to experience so many great things. Attending and graduating high school, graduating college and getting a bachelor's degree, having a full time job, and putting money into a 401k, just little things like that, is not always a given. So because of my family, my brother, they definitely inspire and motivate me to continue living life full force and just enjoying it, finding the good, they’re definitely my inspiration for how I live my life, for sure.


Julie: What sports do you play and how do you stay active with cystic fibrosis?

Martha: So I’m raised by a college football player and my mom skied her whole life so we didn’t really have a choice whether or not we were going to be active, we were going to be active. I was signed up for softball, Tee-ball, soccer, swimming lessons and gymnastics growing up. But hockey is the sport that really took. I started that when I was seven or eight and played through high school. I loved hockey. I was obsessed. I wanted to work for the Minnesota Wild at one point in my life. I was just all about hockey, which is not uncommon in Minnesota. We’re the State of hockey. But I loved hockey growing up. It was a great team sport. I’m very thankful that I found more individual sports to partake in, because at the age of twenty seven it’s kind of hard to find fifteen people, ten at least, to play on a weekday.

Julie: What position did you play? 

Martha: I was defense for the majority of my hockey career and then I was back up to the back up goalie if needed. One year our varsity hockey goalie was injured and our JV goalie came up and I had to be the JV goalie after not having played goalie for eight years. So that was a fun game that we lost, but a good experience. But hockey was a huge part of my life and a huge reason why I maintained my health. But today I kayak, snowboard, I love hiking, biking, downhill mountain biking is pretty awesome. Being in Minnesota if you can’t find a way to get out in the winter it’s going to be a long, cold, sad winter. So skating is something I can still do. And definitely snowboarding. That’s what I used my CFLF Grants for, and it’s changed my life and made my winters fun and kept my lungs healthy.

Take a look at the full interview, and get to know our STROLO Star of the Season, Martha Garvey:



Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER-




Julie Winn is a long time volunteer turned Communications Coordinator 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*** 


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


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