Bernie Shannon remembers the call like it was yesterday.
“You ready for some new lungs tonight?” the voice on the line asked.
After a lifetime of medication to keep cystic fibrosis at bay, and a year of simply surviving, she was more than ready.
“I went white,” the Langford woman says, five years after her double-lung transplant. “You wait so long that the call is the best thing because you know you’re running out of time. You’re in a body that doesn’t work.”
Shannon recalls the details of the trip to Vancouver and, most vividly, her first deep breath.
She still faces days filled with anti-rejection medication, drugs to combat the existing CF and those to battle the side effects of other meds.
But she feels for the kids dealing with CF.
“Kids do an equivalent of four months a year doing treatment to stay healthy,” she said. “By the end (pre-transplant) that’s all I was doing was inhaling medication and dripping medications.”
She hopes residents will support the cause through the ninth annual Great Strides fundraising and awareness walk March 26 at Royal Roads University.
“It’s a national signature event, looking to raise awareness to what cystic fibrosis is and get correct information out there, as well as raise dollars to fund research,” said George Colussi, manager, community development for the Victoria Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “The funds from this walk we hope will loop back into the two local clinics.”
Registration is by donation at 9 a.m. Walk starts at 10 a.m.
“It’s through three kilometres of low impact scenic trails at Royal Roads,” Colussi said. “It’s a very family oriented friendly event.”
After the walk enjoy entertainment, barbecue and prize draws. Learn more about the illness at www.cysticfibrosis.ca, while there click on Great Strides and search for Victoria to learn more about the event, or contact Colussi at 250-415-0441.