Friday, May 8, 2015

College, Comedy, & CF

Amazing Opportunities :

Andrew's Birthday was May 6th, he finished the semester yesterday (the 7th), so what would be a better way to celebrate everything... than meet Lewis Black!!!

Pic right: Okay, we celebrated his birthday on the 6th too! I made him a blue raspberry cake with green colored frosting ( his favorite slushie flavor & color). Then I made him a card & some minion gift bags to put his presents in! 

 But, still on the 7th the celebration just continued... How did we get the opportunity to see Lewis Black? Well, CFF chapters have competitions & other ideas for boosting their great strides walks. One of them was to register the most Team members for a Great Strides walk for the Peoria, CFF Chapter. AND my fabulous Team CFdid it!!! We registered 24 people in that time period. Now we have 45 walkers for the Princeton Cystic Fibrosis Walk so far!!!! I'm hoping to register at least 25-50 more in the next month! So really if you walk with great strides or volunteer with the CFF (in IL), make sure you "like" their Facebook pages (peoria here) & (chicago here)! Then perhaps you can win the next competition!

I'm sooo proud of Andrew! So glad his semester is over & that he had a nice birthday celebration! He works full time. He switched to a new employer & job(in the same field) for better health benefits (for me)& slightly better pay. Since switching to the new employer in October 2014, he has been promoted more than once, with nice salary increases. He works sooo hard both at work (40 hours a week) & at school ( 15 hours a week). The poor guy never gets a day off (work 5 days & school 2 days a week). So what a way to
celebrate the end of the school year!!!! I was beyond ecstatic when I won the Lewis Black Tickets in March! I knew Andrew would flip out, he is a HUGE fan!  The show was amazing & meeting Lewis Black was the best!

Seeing a Stand Up Comedy show for our date night is perfect! We met doing show choir, theatre, and improv. I've even done stand up before about my CF! So it was absolutely perfect for us!

Actually I started to share on social media more about my CF when I started doing my stand up comedy at the University of Illinois. A couple friends convinced me to audition for the Big Ten Network's U of I Comedians. I was surprised, I made the show & got to see myself on TV! I realized at that point I needed to share more about CF.

College left a huge impact on my life! For the first time I met people who didn't know I have CF. I had to explain what is was, balance my social, academic, and medical life all at the same time. I did a lot of that in high school, but everyone already knew...Still thinking back I loved college. I studied Geology for two years at the local community college. Transferred to U of I and continued in the Geology field for another 3 years. End of junior year I realized Geology wasn't a feasbile option for me (medically) & I didn't want to teach. So I changed plans. I switched to Pyschology and graduated a year later. It took me a whopping 7 years total to get my degree. I had to withdraw a few semesters from major surgeries or illnesses. Sometimes half way through the semester I had to lighten my load because I was sick and missed a couple weeks. Lots can happen. College is sooo expensive. If it was past the withdraw/refund date, then I would lose the money for the class. BUT, thanks to CF Scholarships it made it a little less difficult.

I received over $5,500 alone from one resource over a 3 year period. Abbvie Scholarship (which was SolvayCares Scholarship at the time) chose me as one of their 40 yearly recipients in 2008 & 2010.

Picture right: the two books featuring all the top 40 chosen & my  creative "scrapbook" entry I did.

I applied in 2009 & was given $500 (even though I was told they don't usually choose the same recipients 2 years in a row), which was nice of them!!!). Abbvie really does give us a great opportunity! I filled out an application, submitted an easy, and turned in a creative entry each year.

Left Picture: my 2008 page in the book of scholarship recipients

In 2008 I did a scrapbook, in 2009 I did an environmental poster. By 2010 (right picture) they added the list of your extra-circulars to the page on the side & you could submit a video for your creative entry.

So in 2010 I submitted a video of my stand up comedy routine. Some people paint, dance, skateboard, sing, you can submit anything you want! That is my favorite PART of this CF scholarship. Most scholarships are looking for CF athletes. But for people like me, with CF and other problems (like cerebral palsy & pretty bad arthritis), sports were never an option! So please don't hesitate, just apply and see what happens (deadline May 27th).

I received an email from them yesterday asking me to share this with all of you! 

"AbbVie recently announced that undergraduate and graduate students living with CF can begin to take a step toward alleviating the financial burden of attending college by applying for the 2015 AbbVie CF Scholarship. For nearly 25 years, AbbVie’s scholarship program has supported the CF community by providing financial assistance to exceptional undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing their dreams of higher education. 

As in previous years, 40 students will be awarded $2,500 each based on their outstanding academic record, extracurricular activities, and creativity. The 40 recipients will also have an opportunity to compete for public votes to qualify for the title of Thriving Undergraduate or Graduate Student and will receive a total scholarship of $23,000 (the original $2,500 scholarship plus an additional $20,500).

Applications will be accepted until May 27, 2015 and are available online now at: For more information, visit  to view creative submissions of past winners and learn more about the application criteria, contest rules and upcoming deadlines surrounding the application process.

Every student living with CF deserves a chance to realize their potential regardless of financial circumstances."

-Gina at AbbVie 

I don't usually plug and chug somebody else's words on here, BUT this explains everything AND is AMAZING opportunity. AbbVie was one of the scholarships that really helped me to graduate college without the enormous amount of debt . I mean 7 years as an undergrad, just imagine the debt I could have right now. WHEW! I still wish I could do Grad School, but I'm thankful for my Undergrad years and everything they taught me!


Thanks again to everyone who helped me win those tickets to see Lewis Black (& meet him)!!!!!!!!! 
       Keep tuned for updates on my new diet, clinical trial, and Princeton Walk news! 

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