It is something we all take for granted, and something we all need to do every day. Taking a breath shouldn’t be as hard as it is for some. No breath I take is taken for granted. Every deep breath in the summer air or cool winter wind is every breath that I fight for day in day out. From the morning nebuliser to the afternoon antibiotics, I will fight and win each breath, for me and others out there with Cystic Fibrosis.
After being born with a collapsed lung and being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, many people would have never guessed that by the age of 21, I would have ran my first marathon, trekked in the Himalayas over 5000m and through Vietnamese jungles, cycled 430km to Paris, completed the National Three peaks Challenge in under 24 hours and most importantly, raised thousands of pounds for multiple charities. Why? I am fighting for each breath and living wild has given me my motivation and drive to hit my goals and help others. Don’t feel sorry for me, people with Cystic Fibrosis have a beautiful life. From the severe coughing pain, I have managed to see more beauty in each day than most people may in their life. The worse part of my life would be reaching the end and realizing I never truly lived.
Find what gives your life purpose and meaning and chase after it. It is never all fun and games, and to reach my goals has proved immensely challenging both physically and mentally. With having Cystic Fibrosis, people wouldn’t guess you are ill and I repeatedly get people saying ‘but you don’t look ill’. CF has made me sympathize more with people from all backgrounds, as just because ‘I don’t look ill’ doesn’t mean that I am not ill and the same goes for every person, no one knows what you are battling, so do it for you. I live wild for me.
I am most at peace with myself facing the elements. It’s funny because people believe that you need to be a strong mountaineer or an expeditioner to understand that and feel the vulnerable sense you feel facing nature. But some of my best moments have come from leaving my front door for a long run, or choosing to go for a walk at midnight in the dark and bitter hours of a winters night. We choose to take adventures when we decide to go on a different course for a dog walking route or by walking a different route to work which could be cross country and longer. The more confidence you grow, the more you experiment and the greater the adventures you plan. Looking at it realistically, I never lost that sense of adventure we have from when we are children: the only difference being is that I am an adult and I can truly live those greater adventures; we all can, if we believe. Sometimes it’s about remembering who we were before the world asked us to change.
Having Cystic Fibrosis is limiting, I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. Although, I am living and chasing my dreams with every day that cystic fibrosis tries to hold me back. We are all human, we are all fragile and I get ill and have set backs as much as the next person but that doesn’t mean I am going to let it affect me and the next person. We are all a sum result of the people we have around us and we are all in a position to motivate and raise the people around us higher in life and in happiness. It’s as simple as Plain Sailor puts it: ‘These are the stories of the extraordinary doing the extraordinary.’ As a teenager, losing ambition, failing at school and acting rebellious, I would have never dreamed that I could become a mountain guide, or even at 19 years old trek above 5000m into the Himalayas, experience altitude sickness and the bitter -15 degrees cold which made me feel more alive than ever before. Plain Sailor is the platform for sharing your story and bringing together a community of individuals strong enough to say ‘I can’, and I am proud to be one of them.
What’s next? MontBlanc in aid of the Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre, I am coming for you.