Rod Spadinger Raises Awareness of CF Through a Website Featuring Art From the Community
Rod Spadinger was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) when he was 3 months old. He is now 44 and works as an analyst for a bank in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he grew up. He founded and manages the website Cystic Fibrosis Artists.
WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE GROWING UP, AND TRANSITIONING INTO ADULTHOOD, WITH CF?
When I was 5 years old, I got really sick. My parents searched for the best CF doctor in the country, and I ended up seeing a doctor in Dallas, Texas. He suggested I begin running. From that point on, I would run 5 miles twice a day. I don’t run like that anymore – I have multiple sclerosis now, so I’m happy to be walking. But I wasn’t hospitalized again until my early twenties. As an adult, having CF can be difficult because I have to manage my time really well. When I started working long hours, it became hard to find time to do my treatments. Today, my days begin at 4:00 a.m., so I can do my treatments before going to work.
YOU MANAGE A WEBSITE THAT FEATURES THE ARTWORK OF PATIENTS WITH CF. WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THIS PROJECT?
I launched the site in December 2012. I wanted the world to know that CF patients aren’t just sick people – we have skills, we’re talented, and we should be recognized for more than just our coughs. So far the site has featured the artwork of over 100 people. People in the CF community send me whatever they consider art – drawings, stories, paintings, music. It’s been a really positive experience.
“Being all in means taking in all life has to offer, despite having CF.”
- Rod Spadinger
WHAT DOES BEING “ALL IN FOR CF” MEAN TO YOU?
To me it means being involved in the community, living life as you would normally, as if you didn’t have any ailments. Taking in all life has to offer, despite having CF.
WHO IN YOUR LIFE IS ALL IN FOR YOU?
My parents have always been all in for me. My mom stopped working so she could take care of me when I was growing up. They do anything they can to make sure I stay healthy.