In 1967, when Jerry Cahill was just 11 years old, he was diagnosed with the genetic disease Cystic Fibrosis. Jerry’s doctors did not expect him to live past his teen years.
Today, Jerry is a successful author and advocate for cystic fibrosis. He has undergone a lung transplant and is nearing his 60th birthday. My own son also suffers from cystic fibrosis, and sadly, I have heard many conversations about the median age of survival. At times those thoughts have overwhelmed me. Will my son live to be old and gray? It’s my only wish and hope that he will.
After following along with Jerry’s story, I no longer let those thoughts enter my mind. After Jerry’s diagnosis his parents let him live. He did everything that a child his age did. He was active in sports which he attributes to keeping him healthy.
Being a huge advocate for the cystic fibrosis community, Jerry has embarked on two 500 mile bike rides along side Emily Schaller (another adult living with cystic fibrosis) to raise awareness for the disease. He also raised $500,000 while biking. As he is nearing his 60th birthday, Jerry decided to take things just a little further on this years bike ride. Besides just biking, he is completing a “living list.”
Jerry’s list started in February 2016 and will include anything from push-ups in the local gym, to catching a fish in Costa Rica, to snowshoeing in Vermont, to donating his books across the country. His goal is to cross off at least 60 things he’d like to accomplish on his “Living List” in the year he turns 60 years old. At the same time, his goal is to raise $3 Million dollars to assist those living with cystic fibrosis.
So, for six days starting September 19th, Jerry and Emily will once again start their trek from San Francisco to San Diego, California. They will push their own struggles aside and think of others. They will inspire young children like my son to look at age as just a number and to live a life you are proud of.
Cystic fibrosis or not, we can all be so inspired by Jerry’s life. Instead of making a bucket list, let’s commit to making a “living list.” Get out there and live!
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