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Just keep swimming!

I find it hard to put into words just how incredibly strong, courageous and determined this young lady is, who I am about to introduce to you. Words just don't seem good enough or do this introduction justice! Sometimes we are faced with struggle and fear, then quickly these things can be resolved, simple as that! ...but for this beautiful soul it's not really that easy. These feelings are not a new occurrence, in fact I can only imagine her battle to have caused these feelings for as long as she can remember.

I want to introduce to you, my wonderful friend ~ Gemma Rawles.

No, Gemma isn't a blogger or professional speaker of any kind but a true friend. The most beautiful human being, with feelings like you and I, who I admire more than you could imagine and someone who's journey inspires me every day, of which Gemma has agreed to share with you all.

Thank you Meist, may you be welcomed with open arms


"My mummy said you're going to die when you're 18"

"You sound like an old woman"

"You can’t park there!" You don’t look disabled" (Parks in a disabled bay)

"Cor... it sounds like you smoke 50 a day"

"You're so lucky to be able to eat anything and not put on weight!"

Cystic Fibrosis can take over the body. Lungs, digestion, liver, pancreas, bones, eyes, heart, spleen, gallbladder, mood, anxiety. It also affects fertility. Living with Cystic Fibrosis is tough physically, but mentally too. I want to share this to raise awareness and show that there are no limits to living with a chronic illness,only inconveniences you spin in to something else.

CF affects day to day living, yet the extent might not even be apparent from the outside. Dozens of tablets, tests, nebulizers, physio, exercise, inhalers, injections...


We are talking daily forever ~ not even one day off from these pesky things!

This makes leading a normal life difficult. But not impossible.

I'm proud to have made my way through school and college despite the 2-week hospital stays and taking some of my GCSEs in the hospital school.

I’m proud to work in London holding down a full time job even though bosses in the past have not always been understanding or supportive.

I'm proud to have my family support me through hundreds of appointments.

I'm so proud to be married to the most kindest person I've met. To have the unconditional support, every hour, despite how hard it can be. I couldn't do it without him.

With any disease it’s important that you can share your experiences and meet people going through the same situation as you, however the CF Trust advise patients not to come into contact with another person who has with the same condition due to infection control. I did however meet several people throughout my childhood as regulations were not that strict back in the 90s and we had sleepovers went to the movies and were able to share each other’s experiences. Being able to talk about your problems with someone who truly knows the struggles you face on a day to day basis means you can form a friendship deeper than most, however it has its downsides many of the friendships that I made no longer exist on earth as sadly CF has taken the lives of the people that I once laughed and cried with.

When these things happen it’s sad but it only makes you realise how precious life is and how every second counts as life can be taken away from you so quickly.

Some coping mechanisms that I use are to concentrate on my wellbeing ~ yoga and Pilates these are really helpful as you concentrate on the positions or your breathing . Or simply just to give it my all in the gym, perhaps a catch up with a close friend or a date night at the movies - anything I can do to take the focus off of how I maybe feeling or how I’ve felt that day/week/month.

My quote to live by, when I am the lowest of the low I simply have to

“ Just keep swimming”

it’s the only way I know how to survive.

I am truly grateful for the NHS and to the nurses and doctors at Papworth hospital that continually work with me to achieve anything I want to achieve. If you would like to find out more about how you can help people with Cystic Fibrosis to live a life unlimited please visit:

Making a regular or one-off donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and make a significant difference to people living with cystic fibrosis (CF).


I'm so blessed to live the life I lead, and I truly believe that having CF has made me the person I am today and put me one step ahead of the rest!