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Lauren Bombardier Discusses Embracing Adult Life While Living with CF
Lauren Bombardier is a 25-year-old woman who was diagnosed with CF at age 3. She lives in the Boston area and currently works in human resources.
WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, WHEN DID THE IMPACT OF A CF DIAGNOSIS BECOME REAL TO YOU?
Growing up, I thought that cystic fibrosis was just an annoyance that required that I do daily treatments, swallow a bunch of pills, and spend a lot of time in the hospital. It wasn’t until 5th grade that I learned that CF might shorten my life. I was doing a report on the disease, and I got hung up on the first line of a book my mom had given me: “Cystic fibrosis is a chronic, life-threatening illness that mainly affects the lungs and digestive system.” These were big words
for an 11-year-old so I asked my mom to explain what they meant. My mom has always been honest with me, and she told me that it meant some people die from CF. She stressed how important it was that I take care of myself to stay as healthy as possible. Looking back at it now, I can’t imagine being a parent and having your 11-year-old confront you about their own mortality.
HOW HAVE YOU APPROACHED YOUR LIFE WITH CF?
I haven’t put my life on hold which is a big part of managing the disease, for me. I went off to college, investing in a life that may or may not have existed long enough to develop a career. I fell in love, trusting my boyfriend to commit to my crazy life of hospitals, medications, and a lot of uncertainty. I got my first job, my first apartment, learned how to cook, how to pay my own bills. I’ve embraced adult life.
"I haven't put my life on hold" – Lauren Bombardier
WHO IS “ALL IN” FOR YOU?
My parents are my absolute biggest supporters. Whenever I hear my mom talk about what it was like when while I was growing up, my respect for my parents grows because they never let me see the worry that was behind their positive attitudes.
As I grew up, my mom and dad continued to assure me that everything would be okay. Even when I was extremely sick, though they never promised miracles, they always promised to be there by my side with their love and support and give me the most beautiful life possible, as short as it may be.
Vertex is also all in for me, and other people living with CF. My mom and I visited the Vertex labs, and we learned something very important about the people who work at the company. They don’t give up. When I met some of the scientists, I learned that day after day was filled with testing compounds that may ultimately fail. This requires an immense amount of patience...but that one compound that works and the people it could impact make the effort worthwhile.