Brian Callanan, Founder and Executive Director, Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation
There is so much research that clearly demonstrates the health benefits of an active lifestyle. For nearly everyone, being active is a choice. But for some, the choice to be active or not has greater consequences.
I started the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation (CFLF) in 2003, with the idea of helping teach others like me who live with this disease about the importance of lifestyle choices on surviving Cystic Fibrosis (CF). CF is a genetic lung disease affecting approximately 30,000 Americans with chronic airway congestion, lung infections, digestive difficulty, reproductive problems and is commonly associated with the onset of CF related diabetes, failure to thrive, depression and other risky behavior.
I believe that staying active literally saves my life. There are so many factors that are critically important to living successfully with CF. The first is that being active is helpful in keeping the airways less congested with mucus. The second is the importance of maintaining a positive mindset and attitude in accepting and dealing with the daily demands of this disease. Being active gives me greater physical strength, releases endorphins to keep any depression at bay, and brings friends into my life in a supportive and trusting way. CF is not something that can be done alone, and for me, activity is the door that lets people in.
The mission of CFLF is to assist in providing avenues toward healthy and active lifestyles through recreation, thereby educating people with Cystic Fibrosis on the critical psychological, social and emotional connections between their lifestyle and their health. Currently this is done by awarding Recreation Grants to individuals with CF across the country in order to provide direct financial assistance toward activity based costs, such as gym memberships, sports camps, dance, yoga or pilaté classes, horseback riding or rock climbing, amongst many other activities. Some of the individuals who have received these grants have shared theirstories on our website. You can help in many ways — make a donation, join the board, or help plan an event! Contactbrian@cflf.org.