The Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF), dedicated to increasing awareness, education, and quality of life for people with cystic fibrosis (CF), recently celebrated the 60th birthday of the organization’s CF Ambassador and double lung transplant survivor Jerry Cahill.
Cahill, who was told by doctors that he would likely not pass age 16, proves that age is just a number and that victory is achievable with a commitment to health, according to a recent press release.
By completing two 500-mile bike rides and other physical challeges within the last two years, Cahill has raised more than $380,000, but this year he is celebrating his own achievements based on completing 60 events on his “Living List” while raising $600,000 for CF.
Chaill said his parents always told him to live live to the fullest, in spite of the his original prognosis.
“My motto is that hard-work, relentlessness and optimism are the secret to a healthy and fulfilling life. With dedication to a strong fitness and medical treatment regimen, I’ve been able to survive this deadly disease and I urge the CF community to apply the same values to their lives. Much is possible when you put your mind and heart into it,” Cahill said in the press release.
Since February, Cahill has been working on his 60:60 “Living List” targets that include climbing to the crown of the Statue of Liberty; taking a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque; completing 60 push ups with 60 people; and catching a 60-foot fish.
He also will participate in the Bike 2 Breathe 500-mile bike ride along the West Coast from San Francisco to San Diego to encourage CF people and their loved ones to stay physically active. He hopes that the combined result of his efforts will bring in $3 million to help people living with CF.
Cahill aims to inspire all people he meets along the way, including coaches and volunteers, to not wait until they are 60 years old to start living their own “Living List”.
More information about Cahill’s adventures can be seen on Twitter (@YouCannotFail) but he further encourages people to share their own #LivingList.
CF is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. In CF patients, a defective gene causes a thick, buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. In the lungs, the mucus can clog the airways and trap bacteria leading to infections, extensive lung damage and eventually, respiratory failure.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry, 30,000 people in the United States have CF; more than 70,000 have the disease worldwide.
To support CF research and education, scholarships and transplant grants, visit the Boomer Esiason Foundation via http://bit.ly/6060Birthday. Check out the recently released BEF documentary “Up for Air” which followed Cahill through his double-lung transplant.