BERWICK - Jessica Best-Grant is stepping out of her comfort zone to raise awareness of a cause dear to her heart.
The Berwick resident recently shared her personal story for a national fundraising campaign highlighting the importance of supporting Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
“As a kid growing up with it, it was just an inconvenience,” said Best-Grant.
Her brother, Jim Best, also lives with CF. As children, the siblings were taught the importance of being mindful of their health but not allowing their disease to chart out the course of their lives.
“It was on the back of my mind but I was still able to do everything everybody else was able to do,” said Best-Grant.
With age, it’s been a bit harder to leave CF in the back of her mind.
“Now that I’m a little older I’m finding that I’m stopping at the top of the stairs to catch my breath again, if I have coughing fits I take longer to recover and I’m really affected by my flare-ups now,” she said.
The veterinary technician started riding horses as a kid, and is now noticing that she has to take more breaks as a result of a decrease in lung function.
“I would love to be able to have an hour-long riding lesson again. I can’t do that right now… I don’t have the stamina for it,” said Best-Grant.
But she’s not without hope.
She’s heard of several fellow CF patients benefiting from medications developed with financial support from non-profit organizations like CF Canada, and she’s optimistic there will eventually be a drug that can significantly improve her lung function.
She hopes sharing her story will remind others of CF Canada’s ongoing commitment to finding a cure for the fatal genetic disease. In the meantime, she encourages fellow CF patients – adults and children alike – to discover their passions and focus on things that bring them joy.
“It’s really hard sometimes, but try to still do the things that you love… That’s what’s going to keep you happy, and keep you going.”
Learn how to give to CF Canada by visiting www.cysticfibrosis.ca.