My name is Colin Penuel. I am a 23 year old living with Cystic Fibrosis. I was born and raised in Atlanta and I am currently a senior at Georgia Tech. I was all set to run the Orlando Half Marathon on December 1st to raise money and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis, but unfortunately my lung function deteriorated significantly and I was put in the hospital just days before the race. I was completely devaststed to have to miss it. This is the first time I have ever committed to running a race as a fundraiser and then failed to do so. Now i will be running the Melbourne Music half marathon on February 3rd.
Cystic Fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease which primarily effects the lungs and digestive system. There is currently no cure for CF. Despite the fact that Cystic Fibrosis is the number one genetic killer of children and young adults in the U.S., the government does not provide funding for CF research! Instead, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a non-profit organization operating off of donations, is the primary source of funding. When the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was founded in 1955, the average person born with CF did not live long enough to attend elementary school. Since that time medical advancements have extended that average life expectancy to the mid-30's! All donations made on this page are split 50/50 between the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis-Reaching Out Foundation, which provides financial assistance to families who cannot afford the costs of their medications. All donations are 100% tax deductible and 100% of donations go towards helping people with Cystic Fibrosis!
I was diagnosed with CF when I was two years old. As a kid I was active in sports, playing baseball in an organized league and pick-up football games with friends just for the fun of it. I started running casually when I was 16, and started running seriously about two years ago. My daily medical routine includes around three hours of breathing treaments and over 20 pills every day when I'm HEALTHY!! Living with CF is not easy and I would not wish this disease on anyone, but neither would I trade lives with anyone. I LOVE my life and without CF I wouldn't know the strength I have been given. If I never had CF, I think I would probably take a lot of things for granted and I might be blind to all my blessings.
I know what it's like to experience a mid-life crisis as a teenager when you think "I wasn't supposed to make it this far, now what am I supposed to do?" I know what it's like to be hospitalized for weeks at a time. I know what it's like to have your faith shaken and feel like there's no hope. I also know what it's like to make your peace with God and to realize that every day is such a blessing! For my fellow CFers, if you're having a hard time fitting in or if you're having self-esteem issues, you're still cool to me! For my cysters and fibros who are struggling or having a hard time: Stay Positive! We go through a lot, but no matter how bad it gets, always remember that it's okay to SMILE!
This year has been difficult, I have had to be on hardcore IV antibiotics twice this year. I ran the Peachtree Road Race just one week after the first set of IVs and then broke my toe the very next day. As my toe was just about healed I learned that a very dear friend, Sarah Bailey, lost her battle with Cystic Fibrosis while she was awaiting a set of donor lungs for a double lung transplant. She was only 19 years old. Her loss really shook me and it still hurts to think about.
One thing about us CFers though is that by the time you get to be 23, STRONG becomes your middle name and nothing keeps us down for long. I am running regularly again and I am excited about running a half marathon in Orlando soon!
In addition to helping raise money and awareness for CF research, I am also running to hopefully: 1) inspire other CFers to lead active lifestyles and exercise, it really helps! and 2) to show people that you are stronger than you think you are and with Faith and positivity you can do anything!
If you are unable to make a monetary donation, all forms of contribution (warm thoughts, prayers, kind words, positive energy, etc.) are welcome and greatly appreciated. Thank you so much to everyone who contributes to the cause of helping make CF stand for Cure Found!
In case you don't have CF and don't know what it's like to live with it everyday, I think this video does a pretty good job of illustrating what it's like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twjg7v-pTO4
For more information about Cystic Fibrosis, visit: http://www.cff.org/
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