Emma has had a passion for art and design since a young age and it has always been her dream to become a graphic designer. Not long ago, she even started her own small graphic design business in order to start building a design portfolio for college. So as you can see, she hasn’t been sitting back and waiting for her dreams to come true, she has been putting her plans into motion to make her dreams a reality. Her business has now grown much more than she could have ever imagined, but she is also grateful that she is able to receive experience in her future career field while also making money to save for college. After college, she hopes to begin a job in the business side of graphic design, working for a branding agency and helping build brands for companies.
She is currently a freshman at Northeast Alabama Community College but has plans to transfer to the University of Montevallo in the fall of 2023 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in graphic design and a minor in marketing. She is excited to receive higher education in her dream career field.
Growing up with Cystic Fibrosis, Grace was a stubborn and determined individual who wanted to accomplish everything this disease told her she could not do. Everything that had an athletic or adventurous tinge to it, grabbed her attention. She did dance, soccer, gymnastics, and hiking, but joining track years ago ignited a passion within her. She started the sport despite her CF and didn’t want it to define what she could or couldn’t do or who she would be. As she continued to run, it became a symbol of strength, positivity, and hope. Rather than running to create a notion that CF didn’t affect her, she used running as a blueprint for how to fight this lifelong battle. The lessons learned from endurance in long-distance running are easily applicable to this chronic illness. She looks at life a lot like a race in that way; not one with other people, though. This race is her attempting to beat her own records and striving to be the best she can be. When life gets hard or CF takes a toll on her health, she can’t just stop in the middle of the race. She thinks of those moments as the hills during a run - you lean in a little more, swing your arms a little harder, and make your strides a little longer. She has learned to love the hills in cross country because they can show you how strong and capable you are even if you didn’t believe it before making it to the top. Running is more than just an action for her; it is a reason to push herself harder up the hills.
The perseverance that she has gained from CF has not only been applied to sports but has been incorporated into every aspect of her life. Lung infections and general illnesses that are amplified by CF have taken her out in the middle of races from the lack of oxygen, but they did not stop her from getting back on the line the next meet. This determination has led her to tackle large goals that she had set for herself including holding her school’s 5k record, qualifying at state in track and cross country for three consecutive years, and being a five-time state medalist. This proves that there is always hope in a tough and unforgiving situation.
Growing up, Samantha always held a strong desire to make a significant difference in other people's lives. When she was younger, she struggled to figure out how she would be able to accomplish this. She concluded that she could accomplish this goal after she had the opportunity to take an AP Psychology course in high school. She realized that she could use her diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis, along with a degree in Psychology, to help others cope with the diagnosis of a terminal illness. She believes this will make a big impact in pursuing to help those diagnosed with terminal illnesses as well as helping their loved ones.
Ultimately, she hopes to turn her diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis into something positive. With a degree in Psychology, she hopes to accomplish her goal of helping others in need and her dream of making as large of an impact on as many people as possible.
Victoria has discovered that being an adult with CF can sometimes be lonely. From her own experiences, she has gathered that mental illness can be a predictor of health outcomes. Your peers move on and soon they are living in another world. Financial independence is difficult to attain, not only because of hospital stays fragmenting your life, but also because many adult CF’ers cannot attain financial independence.
She would like to get a Ph.D. in psychology to someday offer help in clinics - even if it is on a volunteer basis. She would like to work to encourage and educate patients on mental health for addiction prevention. Knowing that a Master's Degree in counseling could give her the ability to counsel, she would like to go beyond that and generate research and teach at a university level to increase awareness of mental health for healthy outcomes.
During high school, Haley's favorite class was Earth Science. For quite some time, she has been concerned about the environment. As such, she has gained a great interest in Geology and plans to pursue a degree in this at Iowa State University.
Her goal is to find a career that will allow her to travel and study ways we can help improve our environment and make it more sustainable for future generations.
Annaka is planning to attend Washburn University and earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. After that, she wants to further her education by entering the Doctor of Nursing Practice online program at Washburn. Her long-term goal is to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and her hope is to provide future patients with the same medical and emotional support that her doctors and nurses have given her. She wants to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, certified in Primary Care and possibly Acute Care.
Sam's next step in life is to study Kinesiology and Personal Training at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois. He is interested in how his body works due to his having cystic fibrosis. He started sports at a young age and a few years ago made it a priority to be as healthy as he can be. He currently works out, and along with his sports routine, he hopes to learn what this can do for somebody physically and mentally. He wants to help people achieve their goals through exercise.