BreatheCon 2023 to offer online support, connections for CF Adults

Registration now open for this year's virtual event on Feb. 23-25

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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Collaborators put their hands together in a circle, all in.

BreatheCon 2023 — the seventh annual virtual gathering offering online support for adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) — is taking place this year from Feb. 23-25.

Registration for the event, hosted by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, is now available on the program’s webpage. The focus of the 2023 forum is “How Do You CF?” — exploring the unique ways that people with cystic fibrosis navigate living with the disease.

“CF shapes perspectives of how you see yourself, as well as the world around you; it brings connections, appreciations, losses, and pains,” the website states. “At BreatheCon 2023 let’s explore the many ways people experience their CF.”

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Finding online support for navigating CF

According to the CF Foundation, a U.S.-based nonprofit launched nearly 70 years ago to support patients and their families, the 2023 online event will be implementing new efforts to make BreatheCon more accessible for individuals who speak Spanish.

To that end, all keynotes and panel discussions will have live audio Spanish translations as well as high-accuracy closed captioning in English.

BreatheCon will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, with a keynote speech delivered by Lisa Bentley, a former professional triathlete, motivational speaker, author, television commentator, coach, and adult with CF.

After the keynote address, attendees will have 45 minutes when they can socialize in one-on-one conversations or attend affinity groups, where people of similar backgrounds can share their experiences. Among the affinity groups offered are one for people in the LGBTQIA+ community, one for people of color, and one for Spanish speakers.

The first day will conclude with a showcase of projects led by the CF community that work to support people with the genetic disease.

The second day’s events will run from 7 p.m. to 9:30 pm. Attendees will have the option to chat in groups focused on various topics across the CF experience. This day also will feature opportunities for one-on-one conversation and a virtual game night.

The final day of BreatheCon kicks off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, with a keynote address. Following that, participants can attend panel discussions on a variety of topics, including family planning, retirement, getting a diagnosis later in life, dating and parenting.

There also will be a slow flow yoga class, and the forum will wrap up with additional opportunities for socializing in small groups and one-on-one chats.

While BreatheCon is a virtual event, eligible participants in the U.S. will still receive conference swag, delivered via mail. This year’s swag will feature art selected from a contest among the CF community.

The winner was Kelly Marie McHale Talarico, a 31-year-old middle school science teacher who was diagnosed with CF as a baby. Talarico’s winning art is a picture of sugar cookies she made that are shaped and decorated like lungs.

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