31 Days of CF: American Ninja Warrior and CF Warrior

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by BNS Staff |

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Amber Dawkins

Photo courtesy of Amber Dawkins

Day 5 of 31

This is Amber Dawkins’ story:

There are 182 pills, neatly organized in a plastic container, the days of the week labeled in bold on each of the small sections. Just enough medication to last for seven days. Inhalers, nebulizers, airway clearance devices. Insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring supplies. These are the things you’ll find in the medicine cabinets and storage benches of someone living with cystic fibrosis and CF-related diabetes. These are the things you’ll find at my house.

Liquid chalk, a lightweight pair of training shoes, and medical tape in a well-worn gym bag. A pull-up bar over the door, balance obstacles in the corner, and a basement ninja gym. These are the things you’ll find in the home of someone training for “American Ninja Warrior.” These are also the things you’ll find at my house.

CF Warrior. American Ninja Warrior. I am both.

In our very recent history, many thought such a combination would be impossible. I was born with a life expectancy of 20. The first year I tried out for “American Ninja Warrior,” CF life expectancy was 37. Today, I am 37 and going strong — and my story now includes an appearance on Season 12 of “ANW.”

Thankfully, Trikafta (elexacaftor/tezacaftor/ivacaftor and ivacaftor) has drastically reduced how often I expect to deal with the sleepless nights and coughing fits that come with fighting a respiratory infection, and I will forever be grateful for every person and organization that helped bring it into my life. It means more time for me. More time here. More time for training. More time to spend with my friends and family; more time with my husband, son, and four stepchildren. More time for adventuring, traveling, and trying new things.

My message is this: We are strong, we are resilient, we are unstoppable. We can conquer any obstacle.

We are CF Warriors.

Cystic Fibrosis News Today’s 31 Days of CF campaign will publish one story per day for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in May. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofCF, or read the full series.