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Sung Lee Tae Kwon Do Break-a-Thon at the Carstar’s Great Strides Walk

April 27th, 2015

My name is Heather and I have cystic fibrosis (CF). CF is the most common fatal genetic disease in Canada today. Half the people that past away from CF last year were under the age of 26. CF has affects all parts of my life.  CF not only effects the length of life but drastically effects the quality of life. CF makes it hard for me to breathe and causes me to get lots of lung infections.  It damages my lungs.  The damage to my lungs is permanent and not repairable. 

As well as having to take over 35 pills every day, I also have chest physiotherapy several times a day.  I call this “my beatings”.  It helps to get the junk out of my lungs so I can breathe better.  I call it my beatings because I get hit on the chest, sides and back 90 times a minute for at least thirty minutes each time.  It hurts.  It hurts even more when I’m sick.  So far in my life I’ve had over 13,000 beatings.  I’ve never complained or tried to get out of doing my beatings.  It’s my body, my health and I must do what it takes to battle CF.  In addition to “the beatings” the therapy includes breathing in several medicines.  When healthy my therapy takes 2 hours every day and when sick it can take up to 7 hours.

I can either choose to battle my life each and every day or let CF defeat me.  I will let you decide for yourself what I choose by telling you one of my stories of living with CF.

When I was 3 ½ years old, I had a very bad lung infection.  In addition to my regular medicines I had to take a medicine called Tobi for a month.  It is a yucky medicine that burns my throat.  Two times a day, I had to breathe in Tobi for a ½ hour.  By the end of the month, I had lost my voice because of the burning.  It took me 2 weeks to get my voice back.  Just after I got my voice back, we found out that the infection wasn’t gone.  My dad sat me down and told me that I had to go back on Tobi.  Dad told me to start breathing the Tobi now.  I said, “Give me a minute, Dad”.  I ran to the bathroom and stood on the stool.  While crying and looking in the mirror, I said out loud, “I’ve done it before, I can do it again.”  I got off the stool, stopped crying, put a smile on my face and went back to my dad.  I said, “I’m ready now Dad”, and I started the Tobi.

In addition to all those beatings, hard exercise is very helpful in clearing my lungs.  Since I was 4 years old I have been at Sung Lee Taekwondo (TKD).  I have been doing at least 15 hours a week of TKD since then to help me stay healthy.  All those hours of TKD lead to me becoming a black belt at the age of eight.  I am now a second level black belt. I was so excited to learn that Sung Lee TKD is doing a break-a-thon to support me in my battle against Cystic Fibrosis.

Everyone with CF knows that unless a cure is found his or her battle will be lost. I hope you will support the Sung Lee Tae Kwon Do Break-a-Thon at the Carstar’s Great Strides Walk on May 31st at Hawrelak Park.  All money raised will go to Cystic Fibrosis Canada for research and clinical care. You can donate in person to one of the many Sung Lee participants or on line.

To donate on-line go to:       http://www.cysticfibrosis.ca/greatstrides/

                                                Select: “Donate/Search” then choose “Donate/Search for a Team”

                                                Select: " Search for a Team "

                                                Team Name: "Sung Lee Taekwondo Panthers”

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and learn a little about cystic fibrosis.  Because of people like you, I have hope that one day soon there will be a cure.

Heather Hanna, age 13

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