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6 Ft. Apart... A Familiar Scene

During these difficult times many people are struggling, but some more then others. We were given the opportunity to interview an inspirational woman who we can all learn from. Her name is Olivia Davis and she shared her struggle with cystic fibrosis, (CF). 

Who is Olivia Davis?

Olivia, known to many of her friends as "Liv" was born and raised in Marin County. She is also one of only 30,000 people in the U.S. diagnosed with CF. Every year there are less than 1,000 cases diagnosed, and it occurs in one out of 3,400 births. Approximately one in 31 Americans are a symptomless carrier. Olivia has had cystic fibrosis from birth, although it is possible to have the disease, but remain asymptomatic for the first few years. Since Liv was diagnosed as a baby, there have been tremendous advancements in specialized CF care. These treatments have succeeded in adding years on to the life expectancy of CF patients. Olivia is a great friend, singer/ song writer, and role model both within the CF and greater community.

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

cystic fibrosis is a disease that you are born with that affects the lungs and digestive system. It is a genetic disease, meaning, it isn't contagious, but it is passed down from previous generations. Symptoms vary greatly from person to person, but some include cough, inability to gain weight, and repeated lung infections. CF is diagnosed at birth and requires a lot of medical attention, it is a rare inherited disease that affects less than 200,000 people a year in the U.S.

According to the CF foundation website, "Diagnosing cystic fibrosis is a multistep process, and should include a newborn screening, a sweat test, a genetic or carrier test, and a clinical evaluation at a CF Foundation-accredited care center. Although most people are diagnosed with CF by the age of 2, some are diagnosed as adults."

How does CF fit into your daily routine?

Olivia, along with all people with CF, complete a combination of the following therapies-

  • Airway Clearance: Loosens up and gets rid of thick mucus in the lungs.

  • Inhaled Medicines: Liquid medicines, made into a mist or aerosol and then inhaled through a nebulizer. The medicines work to thin the mucus and also include antibiotics to help fight lung infections.

  • Pancreatic Enzyme Supplements: Capsules that improve the absorption of vital nutrients

  • CFTR modulator: Target the underlying defect in the CFTR protein which causes CF.

Are you more connected to your community now than in the past?

To this question Olivia stated that the Covid-19 shelter in place order is very similar to the steps and precautions that she has to take when seeing others with CF patients, including staying six feet apart and wearing a mask. The CF foundation connects CF patients with others that are similar to you and through video calls and other messaging systems you can talk with them at any time.

How do you celebrate Cystic Fibrosis awareness month?

Olivia uses social media to connect with others and has made many friends who have CF. The CF foundation works on new medical treatment and helping their patients find other ways to connect. Olivia mainly uses Instagram to share and connect with other people she also uses it to raise awareness and spread knowledge about cystic fibrosis. 

Are your precautions stricter?

Although Olivia is used to staying six feet from someone she is also needing to buy extra medication because essential medication can sell out. She also said she was going to marry her fiancé this october but due to Covid-19 she is unable to. The medication she needs is very expensive, however her father's insurance is able to cover her until she is twenty six, after she turns twenty six she can either get insurance from her wife or her job.

Is the movie five feet apart accurate?

Five feet apart is a movie depicting two teens with cystic fibrosis who can’t be together because of their diseases. In the movie it shows that the kids have to remain six feet apart or else they can get fatal lung infections which is factual. On the other hand it also shows the kids roaming around the hospital and going into each other's rooms. Olivia talks about how before Covid-19 they were allowed in other rooms but they are no longer allowed to.

To learn more follow this link to the CF Foundation website!


Photos courtesy of Olivia Davis

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