Sunday, May 22, 2011

Because of You

Dear Cystic Fibrosis:

I know it's been a while since I've written you, though I honestly can't say I'm sorry. It's true that you are not my favorite penpal, but in my defense, you've been kind of busy -- that whole "wreaking havoc on innocent, beautiful lives" day job of yours seems to take up a lot of time, plus I have yet to see you take a vacation. It must be rough knowing that so much is riding on your every move, that you literally hold the health and happiness of over 30,000 people just in the US alone in your hands. I'm not sure I would want that kind of pressure, to be perfectly honest, though I like to imagine that if I did have such power I would use it for good rather than evil. But hey, to each his own, right?

Anyway, I thought it was probably about time for you and me to get back in touch. In part this is because I think it's only fair to let you know that you are, once again, being a very royal pain in my butt. Not that you ever stop, obviously, but it feels like sometimes -- every once in a very blue moon or so -- you seem to back off just enough to give me a false sense of security. You lie low for a few days and I feel better, and my friends seem healthier, and no one is dying or sick or stuck in the hospital, and for just a few brief moments I remember that there was a time when I thought you maybe didn't matter quite so much. That maybe, if I kept my eyes shut and wished hard enough for long enough and with enough faith in the power of miracles, that you would just disappear. And yes, I feel weird writing that, even to you. It seems strange to have to tell someone (or something, rather) that you hate them. But I do, CF. I really, really, really do.

I hate you for what you do to my friends, for the lives you've taken, for the joy you seem to take in hurting families, worrying loving parents, leaving behind dedicated spouses, and doling out way more pain than any young child should ever really have to endure. I get it; I understand that you are part of life and that, like anything, you have your beauty. I see how strong you make people like my friends, who are facing sickness or transplants or second transplants or new additions to their families when they themselves can't breathe. I see the light that you spark in them and it is almost enough to make me think you have something to offer -- but then I remember that each of these people are strong DESPITE you, not because of you. And then I hate you all over again, and I realize that I simply cannot wait until the day when their collective light is allowed to burn even brighter without your darkness. Because let me tell you dude, it is going to be one hell of a sparkle show when that moment finally happens.

Which brings me to my second point, CF:

You don't stand a chance.

Nope, sorry, not kidding. I absolutely mean it. And as proof I've spent the last couple of weekends at events that have raised literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to eradicate your presence. I've stood next to friends and family members who have lost a loved one and who are still so dedicated to kicking your butt. I've watched in awe as one small child took her place in the center of a huge group photograph -- her future as bright as the smiles on her team members' faces. I've had the chance to be personally inspired by Mike Freemantle, who is literally riding his bike across the country to raise money for the Greater NY Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I've seen people walk in the rain, people walking with strollers, people dressed in costume, and people coming together in mutual love, hope, and celebration.

And all of this, CF, is not because of you at all. It is despite you. It is not because you make us sick, but that we are strong despite your efforts. It is not because you rip apart our community, but the way we rally despite these great losses. It is not because we have no faith, but that we are hopeful despite your nasty tricks. And it is not because you weaken our spirit. It is that we will always be the bigger, faster, and more determined team -- despite it all.

So I don't mean to add to your workload, little monster, but if I were you I would consider taking up running -- and pretty fast too. Because if the heart, soul, and dedication that I've seen these past few weeks alone is any indication, you're in way over your head with this one.

And unlike the rest of us, CF, you are running alone.



  1. Beautifully written as always and I'm sharing your words with as many people as possible. You certainly got my motivation in laser focus!

  2. Wow. I'm going to share this with some friends (if you don't mind). That was written so well, and I love it.
    Thank you Piper...

  3. so beautiful! I will be sharing this as well.

  4. You got me on this one Pipe, wiping away a tear and thinking I need to do more to help those smiling kids who still believe, and for once I think truly have a shot at, seeing that "cure." <3

  5. So amazing. Your post has once again put me in awe of your talent with words.

  6. That was awesome, truly inspiring and TRUE!!!