THE BLOG
05/16/2014 03:17 pm ET Updated Jul 16, 2014

Be Aware, Make a Difference

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

For most it's an automatic, mindless action. An action that is required in order for us to live. Awake or asleep. Tired or full of energy. Standing up or sitting down. Deep breathe in. Deep breathe out. Deep breathe in. Deep breathe out. For most, it's something that is not thought of. The action of breathing. The ability of the lungs to powerfully and easily move oxygen in and out of the body.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. For 30,000 people in the United States -- children, adults, boys, girls, women and men -- breathing is what our life revolves around. It is one of the first things we think about when we wake up. It is one of the last things we think about before we go to sleep. For 30,000 people in the United States those thoughts are driven by the fact that we have Cystic Fibrosis.

For the Cystic Fibrosis community, May is CF awareness month. It is the one month of the year when the CF community mobilizes, comes together, raises awareness and funds to fight this awful nightmare of a disease. There are walks. There are runs. There are rides. There are golf outings. There are galas. There are comedy shows. The list of fundraisers goes on and on. And with all this great awareness, promotion and education comes the ultimate goal of making a difference in the lives of those living with Cystic Fibrosis. The patients, their parents, wives and husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and friends and colleagues. To hopefully raise enough money to one day find a cure. To one day end what all of us have to deal with.

However, it's the lessons of this month that can translate into our everyday life. I often find it's easy to get trapped in a routine. Wake up, treatment, work, run, dinner, treatment and bed. Wake-up, treatment, work, run, dinner, treatment and bed. Wake-up, treatment, work, run, dinner, treatment and bed. I often find that it's easy to forget what's important in life. The month of May, the support of the CF community, the efforts of everyone who is touched by this disease quickly reminds me what life is about. That it's often the small things that matter the most. That it's important to spend time with loved ones. That it's important to not worry about things you can't control. That it's important to live each day to the fullest. To smile, laugh, and celebrate. Celebrate everything. The big things and the little things. To celebrate life.

But most importantly, CF awareness month reminds me that these efforts and actions, walks and runs, and dinners and galas are about more than awareness. They're about making a difference. It's about leaving a mark on someone's life. Family, friends and strangers have continually gone out of their way to make a difference in my life. They've called and visited when I was in the hospital, they've raised money or donated to Team Boomer and run marathons with me, or attended a gala when I was being honored. I remember, appreciate and reflect on every single action, gesture, conversation, phone call, donation and all the support all the time.

But it should translate beyond the month of May and the world of Cystic Fibrosis. Whether it's something small like holding a door for someone who has their hands full, saying thank you when someone does something nice, telling a joke (a bad one in my case) when someone is down it's these gestures, moments, and acts of kindness that should not be taken for granted. These actions have meaning. These actions make a difference. And that is something we should strive to do every day. Big or small. We should all make a difference.

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