Natalie was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 5 months of age. She was having difficulty breathing and after months worth of testing we got the diagnosis. She does twice a day breathing treatments, swallows multiple pills each day, and wears a vest to shake up her lungs every single day. Natalie spends about 90 minutes each day preventing illness. When she is sick the treatment regimen can go up to 3 hours per day. Cystic Fibrosis is a nasty disease. It affects primarily the lungs and digestive system, but also affects almost every other organ. Thick mucus is produced in Natalie’s body causing her to be more susceptible to illness. Her body is constantly fighting to keep mucus production down and fighting to simply breathe. Natalie has had 4 sinus surgeries, endless amount of blood draws, and a bronchoscopy due to CF. The life expectancy for someone living with CF is 40 years of age. Almost 3 years ago Natalie was in a horrific car accident. Doctors told her parents “she may not make it”. She underwent emergency abdominal surgery and by the grace of GOD she is alive today. She was hospitalized for 14 days, went home, and then was hospitalized for additional 4 days due to complications secondary to her previous hospital stay. Her smile, her energy, and her huge caring heart lit up the world during her recovery. People from all over the nation wanted to know more about Natalie and how she was doing. Her love and faith in GOD is inspiring. Her dedication and desire to fight CF inspires others to push through trials in their life.
Our March Warrior is Julianna
Meet Julianna... our first Wichita Warrior. Here is her story of hope: Julianna was first diagnosed almost three years ago, July 2015, at age 9 with Aplastic Anemia, where her stem cells quit producing blood. This disease is very rare, 1-2 people in a million. Her red blood count was so low that her skin was pale, her heart was beating out of her chest and she was extremely fatigued. (Red blood carries the oxygen.) She had to quit all activities and sports which was her greatest source of socialization with friends. She underwent drug therapy for about a year and her body responded! Her blood counts improved and she was feeling like herself again. Now 12 years old and in middle school, Julianna is such a happy girl! A few days before Christmas 2017, Julianna was looking pale and tired again. After some blood tests her oncologist confirmed that this disease was showing its ugly head again. These last few months, Julianna has had several blood transfusions and a bone marrow biopsy. She has undergone several tests, some rather unpleasant, to prepare her body for a bone marrow transplant - which is her only hope for survival. No family members were a match, but four unrelated donors have been identified as close matches. Today we wait for these amazing people to get further testing. The lucky winner will donate his or her bone marrow in the next few weeks. Julianna will undergo chemo and radiation for several days leading up to transplant day. We are encouraged with the most amazing doctors and hospital staff at Children's Mercy Hospital in KC, and Dr. Rosen here in Wichita. Soon, with the grace of God, and the immense support of many friends and family, this disease will be but a memory and Julianna will become a healthy teenager and live a long, happy, HEALTHY life! Our faith is bigger than our fear. Photo Credit: Christa Eskridge