Sean Edwards keen to help others with cystic fibrosis
PENETANGUISHENE – Sean Edwards is breathing a lot easier these days thanks to a double lung transplant to treat his cystic fibrosis.
“I’ve got all kinds of energy,” said the 35-year-old Penetanguishene resident. “I haven’t sat down since I got out of the hospital. It’s a completely changed life.”
When Edwards was born, doctors told his parents he probably wouldn’t see his 13th birthday. He has delighted in beating the odds ever since.
However, a health scare about 18 months ago nearly did him in.
“I had gotten another bad infection and it just completely destroyed my lungs. I ended up on oxygen 24/7,” he said. “I’d be out of breath by the time I got to the top of the stairs.”
Cystic fibrosis is a common genetic disease for which there is no cure. It primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. A build-up of thick mucus causes severe breathing problems and makes the victim susceptible to infection and inflammation.
For Edwards, the disease had caused his lung function to plummet to 23 per cent. A double lung transplant was his only hope and, after more than eight months on the waiting list, that hope was realized on Feb. 25. Today, his lung function has climbed to 79 per cent.
Although he has surpassed the median survival age of 32 for those afflicted by CF, he said he knows several people who have not been so fortunate.
As a service adviser at a local garage, Edwards is accustomed to helping people with their mechanical problems. Now, he’s turning his attention to fellow CF sufferers by taking part in this Sunday’s Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis in Barrie. His goal is to raise $500.
To donate to the cause, visit www.cysticfibrosis.ca, click on “Great Strides Walk” and look up the team “Strides 4 Sean.”
“Let’s make CF stand for ‘cure found,’” he said. “And don’t forget to sign your organ donor card.”