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Lee Bombardier Shares Insights from Her Role as a CF Parent and Her Work Supporting the Community

Lee Bombardier's daughter, Lauren, was diagnosed with CF at the age of 3.



TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAUGHTER, LAUREN. WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE TOLD YOUR CHILD HAS CYSTIC FIBROSIS?

Lauren is a beautiful person, inside and out. After she was born, she quickly became her daddy’s little girl and the princess of our home as she settled in with her two older brothers. As Lauren grew, she developed a chronic cough, which responded off and on to antibiotics.

On December 22, 1993, our world was shattered when Lauren was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at Boston Children’s Hospital. My husband and I walked out of the hospital that day with a 3-year-old who was totally unaware of the hand she had just been dealt. I remember looking at my husband and saying, “She’ll be ok, it could be a lot worse.”

This statement became my mantra as we have dealt with Lauren’s many illnesses, hospitalizations, and setbacks throughout her childhood. That day became a blur as we let the diagnosis settle in and returned home, picked her brothers up from school and prepared to celebrate Christmas with our family. Friends and family rushed to support us with pizza, hugs and words of encouragement.

"Positivity became paramount in our lives" – Lee Bombardier

WHAT IS IT LIKE AS A PARENT RAISING A CHILD WITH CF? HOW ARE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY “ALL IN” FOR LAUREN?

I had learned in nursing school that CF was a devastating, life-threatening illness and that people who had CF usually didn’t survive childhood. This was something that as a mother I refused to accept for my little girl. My husband and I decided to fight this with every ounce of determination we could muster up.

Being realistic, we also decided that if Lauren’s childhood might be shortened we would give her the happiest, best childhood and life she could have. We also agreed not to make a huge deal out of CF with Lauren, while teaching her the importance of good health and taking good care of herself.

Positivity became paramount in our lives as we guided and cared for Lauren. She had many friends, had many sleepovers and did all the normal kid things. We tried to not keep her in a bubble, and just let her be a kid. This was sometimes difficult trying to balance giving her a normal childhood without exposing her to things that could make her very sick.

When her CF made hospitalizations necessary, we tried to make her time at the hospital fun. We attended functions at the hospital, brought her friends to visit, and her Dad would bring home-cooked meals to help her to eat. We celebrated Lauren coming home from the hospital and any improvement in pulmonary function tests—those were posted on our fridge!

We have always been honest with Lauren regarding her CF. As she gained independence, graduated high school, moved to college, graduated college, moved into an apartment, started a job and began working toward her master’s degree, I’ve often wondered how she manages going to work, going to school, having a social life and taking good care of herself. But we are so proud of her as she’s doing it all!

YOU DO A LOT FOR THE CF COMMUNITY.
TELL US MORE ABOUT HOW YOU’RE “ALL IN FOR CF.”

Our family became involved in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and has participated in fundraising events such as the Great Strides walks and Falmouth Road Race. I also serve on the One CF LLC2 committee at Boston Children’s Hospital, a quality improvement project working to smooth the transition from pediatric to adult care for people living with CF.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER PARENTS OF CHILDREN LIVING WITH CF?

Positivity is key. It’s so important to have hope.

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