Cystic Fibrosis is a tricky disease.
Obviously the person living with CF is most affected. But there is a ripple effect with cystic fibrosis. The disease eventually touches all of those who surround the patient.
Sonia Balliet-Heidenreich was diagnosed with CF at five months of age. She spent her life in and out of doctors’ offices for both routine check-ups and prolonged intravenous doses of antibiotics to fight persistent lung infections. She spent nearly 4 hours a day taking medications, undergoing medical treatments and cleaning and preparing for the next round of treatments. In addition, she spent numerous nights/days traveling to clinics and hospitals where she could receive proper care at a location accredited for cystic fibrosis patients. Even while spending a great portion of her life fighting her own illness, she still spent her days helping others with CF through blogs, online support groups, over the phone, and through e-mail. Even during the last months of her life when the infections in her lungs were overwhelming her she still continued to support the CF community.
Sonia died on May 1, 2010, at 32 years of age, and it is because of her tremendous efforts to help better the lives of those living with CF, that we have dedicated an annual 5k run/walk to her, and continue her legacy of bettering the quality of life of those living with CF by raising funds for the CFA of ND.
Sonia passed away several years before I began working for CFA. However, through interacting with her family and dear friends, I have learned what a very special, encouraging person that Sonia was.
She has left quite a legacy. Every year since her passing there has been a memorial walk/run held in South Fargo, ND in her honor. Through this event, thousands of dollars have been raised to help people like her, who are living with the ravages of cystic fibrosis.
Yes, Sonia’s life was ended far too soon; but through her legacy, you can help others with cystic fibrosis to live longer, fuller lives.
We would love to see you at this year’s Sonia Balliet-Heidenreich 5K. You can register online here.