Rowan O.

Undergraduate Recipient

"As you pursue your dreams of higher education, describe what changes you would like to see in the CF community. What steps would you take to initiate these changes?"

Cystic Fibrosis is a very isolating disease. I feel alone in my journey. I’ve never met someone else who struggles with the same set of obstacles I face on a daily basis.

While friends and family may be supportive, they never truly understand what it means to live with this illness. To make matters worse, doctors strongly discourage me from meeting other individuals with CF due to the fact that CFers have potential to spread harmful bacteria to one another. I know this is a CF protocol, but granted that certain precautions are taken, I believe the rules can be bent. Connecting online through CF Peer Connect has been a great step forward, but it’s still not real, personal, or immersive. CFers shouldn't be condemned to feel quarantined from one another.

Meeting a peer with CF in person and sharing stories would be a dream come true, even if we had to stay 10 feet apart and talk with masks on. There are always risks that we take in order to have an increased quality of life, and I think having a friend with CF is something worth the “risk”. In the future, I hope to see the CF community not frowning upon its members forming relationships with one another. We are people too and deserve to be able to have a fundamentally sound and loving support system around us. In order to initiate this, CF individuals should start speaking out more about how this would impact them for the better.


Rowan O.'s Artwork

Rowan O.'s Achievements

  • One of the club leaders of Girls Learn International- We organize and participated in various fundraising events as well as lead conversations after women empowerment. 2016-2018
  • I am the leader of my Great Strides team "Rowan's Roses. We fundraise to help find a cure to Cystic Fibrosis. 2014-2018
  • Wizard of Art- after school art classes 2014-2018
  • Barnsdale Art Center- after school photography classes 2016-2018
  • Colburn Dance academy- after school Modern, Tap, and Ballet classes 2014-2016
  • Silverlake Children's Theater- after school theater group- 2014-2016