Cystic Fibrosis patient Emily Schaller is raising awareness and money to help others


– Hi, I’m Emily. I’m 37 years old, diagnosed
with cystic fibrosis when I was 18 months old. This is my dog Ushie, Ushie bear. And so cystic fibrosis
is a genetic disorder that you’re born with
and it causes the body to produce really thick and sticky mucus in the lungs, in the pancreas, sinuses and it can cause chronic lung infections leading that loss of lung function. It can impair digestion and it can really affect
your body head to toe but the main things that affect me are my lungs and digestion. And currently the median
age of survival is around 47 so that’s gone up
tremendously since I was a kid and my parents were told I wouldn’t live long enough to graduate from high school. So we’re making headway but
still we fight every day. (upbeat music) Rock CF is a nonprofit
that I founded in 2007. It’s a heightened awareness
about cystic fibrosis and raise funds to help
improve the quality of life for those living with CF. We fund research, we
fund exercise research and then some of our biggest programs are giving people with CF
tools to become active and lead a healthy and
empowered lifestyle. We’re now reaching hundreds
if not thousands of people through our programs and
through our merchandise and awareness projects. We’ve had 18,000 runners participate in just the one race
in the past nine years so to some of them not
even knowing what CF, I’d say most people
not knowing what CF is. They just come to run our race but then they come back because the race is great and now they have a cause
that they’re running for. So it’s really grown and it’s
just really fun to watch. And the feedback’s great and
it keeps me excited to do more. Super active childhood,
but as I got older my lungs started to decline, the lung
function started to go down, so exercise became hard. And so one day, when I
was 25, I think, or 24, I was just sick of being sick, in the hospital three
to four times a year, just watching my lung function go down. I’m like, I’m not sure it
has to be like this, right? So I started doing my meds more regularly because I was a little noncompliant there but then realized that I could do more so started running,
which I thought running was the dumbest thing in the world. Why would you go run? So I ran my first block after thinking I was going to run two
miles I ran half a block, made it to the next
corner, ran another block and it took months and months
to build up to run two miles. So, jump started really
slow and it snowballed into running is like my favorite
form of treatment. (laughs) It’s crazy, I mean I’m feeling
better then I’ve ever felt in my entire life and with CF that’s not supposed to happen, right? The older you get, the sicker you get. But because of new treatments that have come out in the past 10 years, specifically targeting
the underlying cause at the cellular level, like, my life has been completely changed. It’s why I own this house and
it’s why I can work everyday and start a retirement fund which I still am trying
to figure out how to do but live a life that I
never knew was possible, even 11 years ago, so feelin’ great. (upbeat music)