Erin D.

Graduate Recipient

"Life can be a series of challenges or opportunities depending on how you approach it. As you enter adulthood, how have you conquered a difficult task to turn it into an opportunity? As part of your essay, please explain the significance of your creative presentation to your journey with CF."

Living with cystic fibrosis, I am used to my life being a series of challenges but with each challenge, it has strengthened me and pushed me to exceed my potential. Despite the shortened life expectancy, I am determined to live a full life. Fortunately I was raised in a supportive family and a great medical team who helped me conquer my challenges.

Through my life experiences thus far, I have learned how to utilize my resources and to turn my disadvantages into advantages. While studying abroad in college, I learned how to become self-sufficient and to independently travel despite my disease. Throughout this experience I dealt with medical challenges that jeopardized my health. During the first week abroad, my nebulizer blew out and I did not have a spare. New to the city and to the culture, I had to locate a replacement as quickly as possible since the machine was critical to maintaining my health. Even though it was a very stressful situation, I knew it was important to remain calm, communicate my needs, and concentrate on finding a replacement despite the stressful situation. After doing some research and contacting my support system, I was able locate a nebulizer. All of my life I had been used to others advocating for me and even though this experience was a fear come true, it turned into an advantage because I learned to advocate for myself.


Erin D.'s Artwork

Erin D.'s Achievements

  • I was on the equestrian team while in college and during my senior year I was also the fundraiser chair for team. I was also a member of the psychology club and "read for the stars", which is a program where we went to an underprivileged elementary school and taught children through educational games. Sophomore year in college I studied abroad in London, went to the University of Westminster. While abroad I was a member of the Mental Health Awareness Society. I also traveled to several countries while abroad and in college: France, Scotland, Ireland, Amsterdam, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and Iceland. During my senior year in college I was a mentor in violence program. After I graduated from college I did a service trip with my school to South Africa where I worked at orphanages and hospices. Got a job after graduation as an Associate Behavior Therapist working with autistic children. I am certified to do CPR for infants, children, and adults and first aid. I also volunteer at Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, helping them prepare for events. I also volunteer at Bridges: Domestic and Sexual Violence, where I do on call counseling with victims.