May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month
May 14, 2021

We all look forward to the “golden years,” but imagine being told that you will never have the opportunity to enjoy this precious time because you have a disease that only gives you, on average, a life expectancy of 30+ years. This is the unfortunate reality for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients. It is a disease which affects many young Canadians each year and reminds us of the importance in raising awareness of it during Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month.

CF affects the lungs and digestive system. It is the most common fatal, genetic disorder affecting young Canadians. CF causes severe breathing problems by creating a thick build-up of mucus, making it difficult to clear bacteria and leads to cycles of infection and inflammation damaging sensitive lung tissue. CF affects the digestive tract by making it extremely difficult to digest and absorb adequate nutrients from food. Thick mucus blocks the ducts of the pancreas which prevents enzymes from reaching the intestines to digest food. This forces the CF patient to consume large numbers of artificial enzymes with every meal and snack to assist their digestive system in absorbing important nutrients.

CF is a genetic disorder. Those affected by the disease are born with it. It is estimated that one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has CF. Presently, there are approximately 3,400 children, adolescents, and adults attending specialized CF clinics, in Canada.

Thanks to the tremendous work and efforts in research and clinical care, growing numbers of children with CF are surviving into adulthood. In 1960, when the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF) was founded, a child born with CF rarely lived four years. Today, half of all Canadians diagnosed with CF are expected to live into their late thirties and beyond.

There is no known cure for CF as of yet, which highlights the importance of supporting critical research to find a cure. Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to build on the progress made in recent years and to continue the fight against it. During the month of May, two Canada-wide events are taking place, including “National Kin – Cystic Fibrosis Day” and the “Great Strides” walk, to raise funds for research and care, allowing CF patients to live longer and healthier lives.

I encourage Canadians to support the fight against CF this month by participating in CF events and by learning more about this disease and encouraging others to do so as well. If we each do our part, we can assist in increasing the life expectancy of those affected by CF and come even closer to finding a cure.

For more information on CF, the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF), and related events during May, please visit CCFF’s website at