My husband and I love to run. We love it more than most. We live for the runner’s high, the nervous anticipation at the starting gate, the first far off glimpse of the finish line, and every inch of road in between. It’s not punishment, a chore, or even exercise. To me, it’s calming, almost meditative. For Wes, it could be keeping him alive.
Perhaps you’ve run a marathon, a local 5k, or even just felt the deep burn of your office staircase. Now imagine doing those things, but only being able to breathe through a tiny straw. Or better than imagining, give it a try - I wasn't able to last more than a minute sitting at my desk without feeling like I was going to pass out! Doctors say that this simulates the restricted air capacity of someone suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. During every race, marathon, and training run, when I feel like I am straddling that fine line between puking, quitting, and dying, I think of my husband. Wes is battling the same heat, the same mileage, the same hunger, the same fatigue as the rest of us… all while breathing through that figurative straw.
All things considered, Wes is not just lucky to be running marathons, he is lucky to be alive. When he was born, the life expectancy for kids with CF was 14 years old. Many patients with CF are slaves to an oxygen tank and can only dream of living an active lifestyle. Fortunately, his lungs are in the 75% of normal range. After 7 stomach surgeries and countless hospitalizations, he is more active than ever before. In addition to daily breathing treatments and digestive enzymes, physical activity is a primary form of therapy for CF patients to improve their immune system and clear their lungs. He is literally running for his life. He is completely committed to being the healthiest person he can be, and inspiring others in the CF community to be as active as possible. We are both fully aware that this might be the healthiest he will ever be, and there is no way we are going to waste that.
Why 65 miles?
CF has historically been a children’s disease. Sadly, this is because the life expectancy was so low that the majority of patients were under the age of 15. In 1965, a sweetf our year old attempted to communicate about his disease. He couldn’t quite pronounce Cystic Fibrosis, so he adorably referred to it as “Sixty-five Roses”. This has become an adopted term for the disease in the CF community worldwide.
Today, the current life expectancy for Cystic Fibrosis patients hovers right around 40 years. This is a great improvement, but a far cry from the foundation goal of 65. As you can see, the number 65 holds a great deal of significance in the CF community. As newlyweds, we hope to spend well beyond 65 years together. Call it cheesy or romantic, but we also love the symbolism of the “Rose,” which is why we will be starting our adventure in Portland (the City of Roses) and ending at LA’s Rosebowl stadium.
If you'd like to get involved, you can donate to the CF Foundation here, and we would love it if you could come out a run with us!
HUGE shout out to my amazing company, United Talent Agency, for inspiring and encouraging us to take on this crazy challenge, and for helping us make it happen.