The Lifelong Struggle – A Race of Time

Matthew - Columbus, Ohio
Entered on May 29, 2008

On May 15, 2000, I was diagnosed with a disease called cystic fibrosis (CF). I was only eight years old at the time, and was very confused about the condition. As the years passed, I have been through a lot involving CF – four separate and extended hospital stays, two in the past year, and two separate surgeries. At the time of my hospitalizations and surgeries, I simply asked why. I did not understand why I had been chosen to deal with a life-threatening illness. However, the more intimate I become with CF, the more I have taken it upon myself to be a beacon of hope for suffering people everywhere. If someone reads about my story and feels any kind of hope, I have done my job. It may be as simple as inspiring someone to make it through that next medical test, or it may be as profound as inspiring someone to make a contribution to support the search for a cure for CF.

As I grow older, I often wonder about my future. Is it my purpose, my destiny, to inspire people and spread CF awareness? Is my destiny to become a lawyer? Or is my destiny to simply to be a devoted father and husband? This is not to say that decisions I make in my lifetime will have no effect on my destiny. I believe that the decisions I make everyday will have some effect – positive or negative – on my future, and ultimately my destiny. My experience, limited as it has been, has shown me that choices I make daily – being committed to my treatments, choosing to eat healthy foods, not smoking – have the biggest effect on my life. Society sends the message that only momentous choices – choosing a spouse, choosing a college – are decisions that ‘make or break’ one’s life. This is undoubtedly true, yet I believe that daily choices can have a more profound effect on one’s life. The daily treatment of CF illustrates this point. To effectively treat cystic fibrosis, I must do over an hour of treatment per day. If I choose not to do treatments on some days, my health would suffer.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe in destiny and that destiny is a subtle force behind everyone’s decisions. If one’s life had no course, no direction, then it would be rendered worthless. I believe every single person on this earth has a destiny influenced by choices. I hope the choices I am making each and every day are helping me fulfill my destiny, and that that destiny is filled with happiness and love, and most importantly, life.