I showed them a very cool video I found that explained CF in kid friendly terms, which can be found at the bottom of this post. Then I asked them how many of them had heard of CF, and almost half of them raised their hands! Keeping in mind that most of these kids are children of health care workers and that some may have just raised their hands for the sake of raising their hands, I was still pleasantly surprised at how many raised their hands. I also asked how many knew someone with CF, and 3 or 4 kids raised their hands and told me who they knew and how old they were. I told them about the treatments I have to do, and had them come put on a vest and shake, I had them taking saline treatments to see what it was like to take a neb treatment, and use an Acapella and all sorts of other RT toys. I even had 2 fellow therapists come do some good 'ol hand clapping CPT on a few willing participants! We talked about how I have to exercise to stay healthy and how important is was for them to exercise too. I had them up and dancing to a short clip of Party Rock Anthem, while talking about how having a "pity party" for yourself when you have something wrong with you doesn't help, and the importance of staying positive and strong. I showed them a picture of my lovely wife and I on our wedding day, and pictures of Monica and I skiing/snowboarding in the mountains of Colorado, wakeboarding, skydiving (which I told them I did not suggest they do without prior authorization from their parents), snuba diving, and ziplining through the jungle of St. Lucia! I was trying to show them that even though CF is a terminal illness (surprisingly most even knew what the phrase terminal illness meant), we can live very normal lives. It was a great experience and raised some awareness! Several of the adults thanked me afterward and told me they learned a lot from it! I was hoping to at least walk away having taught one more person about CF and inspiring everyone present to enjoy life to the fullest and take care of themselves! Mission accomplished!
If you are reading this and have CF or know someone with CF, I encourage you to get out there and share your story! Raise some awareness!