Meet All in for CF Scholarship Recipient Jacob Feldmann
Jacob once admired professional athletes – now his brother is his hero.
When he was in middle school, Jacob Feldmann’s science teacher gave his class an assignment – write a research paper about a genetic disease. Jacob chose cystic fibrosis (CF), the disease his younger brother had been diagnosed with at the age of two.
That was when he realized that his brother, Gabriel, was his hero.
“I learned all about how CF affects his lungs and other organs, and for the first time I really understood the severity of his disease,” Jacob recalled. “I had always looked up to professional athletes, and I really admired Derek Jeter. But I suddenly saw that Gabriel was displaying all this courage that I didn’t have.”
Jacob is a freshman at the University of Iowa and is one of the first recipients of Vertex’s All in for CF scholarship. He will be studying finance and says that having a brother with CF inspires him to tackle difficult challenges in his own life.
“Gabriel and I have a really strong connection,” he said. “When we were younger, I often went to his checkups with him and learned to help him with his daily treatments.”
He said that helping to care for Gabriel over the years eased his mind about the challenges of living with CF.
“It also made me realize how fortunate I am to tackle each day without the additional challenge of coping with a genetic disease,” he said.
Not that CF stops Gabriel from accomplishing his goals. Jacob describes his brother, now 12, as a talented athlete who excels in multiple sports, including running – a sport over which the brothers have bonded.
For the past four years, the two boys and their father have participated in a local Labor Day 5K. During last year’s race, Gabriel beat Jacob for the first time. Though he didn’t like losing, Jacob hopes this trend will continue.
“My hope for Gabriel is that he has a limitless future,” he said. “I see so much happening in CF research, and I want my brother to have the opportunity to achieve all of his goals.”