When her lung capacity dropped to 60 percent, 19-year-old Sophie Holmes was rushed to the hospital and spent 3 weeks there hooked up to tubes and monitors.
“Being in the hospital was horrible,” she says. “I felt so weak and I was terrified cystic fibrosis was going to get the better of me.”
Although there is no cure for the genetic condition that clogs the lungs with mucus, targeted treatments have increased life expectancy dramatically in the last 50 years. In 1959, children with cystic fibrosis rarely lived past 6. Today, the median life expectancy is in the late 30s, though it varies greatly based on the severity of the condition.
“I knew I never wanted to feel like this again, so I stopped moping in self-pity and did something about it,” Holmes says. “I made a vow to myself to make my health a priority.”
“I thought that being a personal trainer would be a great way to make my health my life,” Sophie says. “It would be my job to look after my health, so I wouldn’t have any excuses to not take care of myself.”
Her older sister Anna quit her job to help Sophie in her quest. Three years after Sophie’s stay in the hospital, they are both personal trainers and run their own business in the United Kingdom.
“Cardiovascular exercise can help CF sufferers, and I wanted to make it a fundamental part of my life to give myself the best shot,” Sophie says. “I’m determined to not let cystic fibrosis stop me from pursuing my dreams.”
“You can do anything when you put your mind to it. Although my illness is serious, I don’t believe it has to define me as a person, and now look how far I have come.”
“People who suffer from cystic fibrosis shouldn’t let it hold them back. Now I want to inspire others to reach their potential and beyond.”
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