Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kicking Cystic Fibrosis!!

Guest Post by Eric Verdon

My name's Eric, and I'm 17 years old from the Great White North's capital, Ottawa. On October 27th I officially made it 4 years that I have been blowing an FEV1 of over 100%, and I owe those numbers to exercise. At the age of 4 my parents put me in soccer, and it wasn't until I was 16 that I stopped playing. I've spent countless hours at the soccer field near my house, literally countless. I have spent summers there, the soccer field WAS my second home, and it really payed off. I managed to make a provincial team, and I played with them for three seasons. All of that time spent running around the field with a ball, practicing my shot, and whatever else I ended up doing there for hours definitely payed off for my soccer skills, but more importantly it payed off for my health.

This all started about 5 years ago, and during that time it definitely started to show that an increase in my health was being made. In about 2 years, I jumped 3 divisions and made it to a provincial level, and from 14-16 I continued to play with the same team. The practices were brutal and and honestly there were mornings I wasn't getting out of bed because my abs hurt too much, or because us scrawny soccer players can do a max of 15 pushups and our coach squeezed one more out of us. In the end it all really payed off, because once I made that provincial team my PFTs finally reached 100%. The amount of mucus I was coughing up was huge, disgusting really (ask my girlfriend), but great for me. The numbers didn't increase much for a good while after, not until I quit soccer and began running.

Running is such a simple thing (and free!) and so good for people like us with Cystic Fibrosis. I don't exactly know why running gets stuff up, maybe it's the increased and harder breathing, or maybe it's the vibration of both feet hitting the ground, but whatever it is it gets junk out of our lungs. I began running about 3-4 times a week about a year ago, and not long after that I did my first 10km run, and did it in a time of 44:37. That's when I hit my highest PFT at 114%! It's been all over the place since then, as I've dealt with minor complications, but not once did it drop below 100%.

Now I've added swimming, biking, and lifting weights to my regime, and am really looking forward to completing my first triathlon next summer! Every single Cyster and Fibro can benefit from running twice a week, even once a week! There are countless stories of CF patients increasing their lung function and living a better life because of activity, and it doesn't necesarily have to be running, go join a recreational soccer team, basketball or any of the sort! Go get a gym membership and start lifting weights, or use the cardio machines they've got there. Anything is better than nothing! If this 17 year old boy can take control of his health, then anyone can.

Bio: My name's Eric Verdon, and I'm from Ottawa, Canada. My parents put me in soccer at the age of 4, and I continued it until I was 16. When I stopped playing, I found a new passion in running. Today I swim, bike and continue to run in hopes to complete my first triathlon next summer. I absolutely love learning about the body and am planning on studying kinesiology next year in hopes to continue my studies into medical school, focusing on sports medicine.

Note from Ronnie: I just want to thank Eric for sharing his story. I think it's so important to remember something he touched on - something is better than nothing! Many of us decide that since we can't do a lot of exercise, we'd rather just do none at all. Just as Eric pointed out however, there are plenty of options available to us if we want to get active. It's all about us choosing to quit making excuses and as Nike says, "Just Do It!!". Thank you again Eric for sharing your inspirational story!