Ashlee looks like any other college student; blonde haired and bubbly, this nursing student appears to be the picture of health.
The truth is, Ashlee has to work just as hard to stay healthy as she does to keep her grades up. Ashlee has cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that causes a thick, sticky mucous that clogs the lungs and blocks enzymes from being released from the pancreas. CF is often thought of as just a lung disease, but the more we find out about this condition we know that it affects nearly every body system.
Ashlee describes her journey with CF as a "constant strive to persevere". She goes into the hospital for a tune-up about three times a year; usually in August before school starts, over Christmas break, and over Spring break. While her classmates are taking road trips to Florida, Ashlee is in the hospital making sure she will be healthy enough to finish out her semester.
While Ashlee stays pretty healthy in spite of her CF, she has had some setbacks that keep her and her family on their toes. Things like bowel obstructions and bleeding lungs have been some hurdles that Ashlee has had to jump.
Ashlee is a fighter, and a strong young lady, and she really believes that cystic fibrosis has helped build her character:
"I constantly remind myself that things can always be worse and I see my CF as a blessing. It has shaped me into the person I am today, and I wouldn't have the same "fighter" inside me as I do now. I have always been told to follow my dreams and never let anything stop me. I am currently in nursing school, which is an accomplishment in itself. Many people said I couldn't do it and look at me now!"
Ashlee has added working out to her daily schedule, in order to keep her body and lungs strong to fight this disease. She has had some positive results from visiting the salt cave here in Bismarck. Ashlee has been participating in the Turkey Trot for about seven years now, and is consistently one of our largest pledge-raisers! She has a fabulous family network to support her.
Ashlee benefits from her membership in the Cystic Fibrosis Association of North Dakota. She receives assistance in paying for her medications and other therapeutic equipment. Ashlee also receives a college scholarship to help pay for her nursing school. She does not have time or energy to work her way through school after factoring in therapy and studying time--CFA helps her to #BreatheEasier by making her college education a little less burdensome.
When you donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Association of North Dakota, you help people like Ashlee #BreatheEasier, not only physically, but financially and emotionally as well!