Diana W.

Undergraduate Recipient

"A year from now, what advice might you give to your past self that could help you overcome any obstacles you are currently facing? Explain how this advice could help you live your life with CF to the fullest potential right now. As part of your essay please also explain the significance of your creative presentation to your journey with CF."

A statistic does not determine the length of my life. A number from a lung function test does not equate to my level of happiness. A disease does not define my identity nor place restrictions on my abilities. That’s the first thing I would tell myself.

With cystic fibrosis, I experience trouble breathing and digesting. However, this disease affects much more than my body; I am positive, strong, and determined because of CF. My character is constantly being built by the obstacles I face. This is the second thing I would remind myself.

Many people think cystic fibrosis restricts me, but this could not be further from the truth. Not only does it push me to challenge myself, but also my consequential positivity allows me to accomplish even more. I am oblivious to obstacles. During high school, I was class vice president, National Honor Society president, cheerleading captain, and an athlete. Cystic Fibrosis is the last thing people think of when they see me. This is my third piece of advice.

Finally, my art is a source of strength and inspiration when facing obstacles. My creative presentation is an original painting called “Breathing Easy”. Living by the beach reminds me how much easier it is to breathe near the ocean. I visualize my lungs just like the ocean: fresh and crystal clear. “Breathing Easy” is a testament to how I view my disease and my hope that one day all CF patients will breathe easily.


Diana W.'s Artwork

Diana W.'s Achievements

  • Student Government Association, Cape Fear Academy, Class Vice President, (Consecutively 9th, 10th, 11th), 2012-2015
  • National Honor Society, Cape Fear Academy, President, (12th) 2015-2016; years active, 2013-2016
  • North Carolina YMCA Youth & Government, (9th, 10th, and 12th); 2012 - 2016
  • National Beta Club, (12th), 2015-2016
  • Washington Youth Summit on the Environment; Summer Delegate, Nomination by school, (11th), 2015
  • Tennis, Cape Fear Academy Varsity Team, (9th, 10th, and 12th); Awarded MVP (9th) & NC USTA Jr. Summer League, (9th and 10th); Awarded Sportsmanship Award, NC Jr. State Tournament, 2013
  • Lacrosse, Cape Fear Academy Team, JV (9th, 10th) and Varsity (11th); Awarded Coach's Award, 2014
  • Cheerleading, Cape Fear Academy Team, (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th); Captain, (12th); Awarded Coach's Award, 2016; Awarded James Z. Godwin Sportsmanship Award, 2015 - 2016; Awarded Booster Club Scholar Athlete Award, 2013-2016
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Advocate & Fundraiser (State and National), "Team Diana", 2000 - present; Awarded Top Ten National Great Strides Family Teams, 2013
  • Community Involvement, St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church Youth Group, 2009-2015 and Azalea Belle, Wilmington Azalea Festival & Cape Fear Garden Club, 2016