Heroes of Hope Panel member and cystic fibrosis (CF) advocate Somer Love sat down with one of our newest Heroes, Haley Conroy, 18, to discuss Haley’s work with the CF community and her determination to stay healthy so she can do the things she loves most.
Somer: Haley, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Haley: I’m 18 years old and was diagnosed with CF at 18 months. I just recently graduated high school and am currently attending community college. I plan to transfer to Jefferson State in Birmingham, Alabama, to become a veterinary technician.
Somer: What do you like to do for fun?
Haley: World Yoshukai karate has been a great passion of mine. I also love to travel and see as many places and things as I can. I make sure to stick with my treatments while traveling so that I can continue having the opportunities to venture off to new places. I hope that one day I can visit Japan and see my karate grand master’s dojo.
Somer: Do you find it difficult to balance your active lifestyle with treatments?
Haley: I’ve always been very determined to take control of my life. In order to do that, I really focus on staying as healthy as I possibly can by staying active and taking opportunities as they come about. I make sure to stick to my treatments and physiotherapy and keep a positive attitude to allow me to do all of the things I love to do.
Somer: Can you tell us about your involvement with the CF community?
Haley: I’ve always tried to stay involved with the CF community in any way that I can. Every year I participate as a fundraiser in an annual 5k race for cystic fibrosis research called the Twilight Run. It has been a big success so far. The last race was my seventh, and we had over 300 runners and raised around $10,000, which will go to the University of Alabama at Birmingham for CF research. I also try to participate in any opportunity I can that benefits CF research.
Somer: Looking back at your life, what are you most proud of?
Haley: The thing I’m most proud of is earning a first-degree black belt in World Yoshukai karate. Karate works the whole body and mind, so it has definitely helped me become much more disciplined in my CF care. My instructors and friends here have been tremendously supportive—they have even made efforts to raise money for my care.
Somer: What does CF mean to you?
Haley: I like to prove people wrong about the disease. A lot of people think that if you have CF, you aren’t as healthy or can’t do as much. CF isn’t something that holds me back. I constantly challenge myself and strive to show that I can do just as much or more than anyone else.
Somer: Do you have any advice for someone living with CF?
Haley: Keep going and don’t let anything stand in your way no matter what. Take on life’s challenges with a positive attitude and try to do the best you can at the things you love to do.
Please note: The information contained in these Heroes of Hope™ Living with CF award recipient biographies is not regularly updated. This Hero was interviewed on July 10, 2013. This information is representative only of the moment in time in which the Hero was interviewed.PUL0002001400