Australian of the Year:  Emmah Money, Cystic fibrosis advocate  #AOTY2020 #ausoftheyear
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Australian of the Year: Emmah Money, Cystic fibrosis advocate #AOTY2020 #ausoftheyear

My dad and mum adopted me when
I was only a few weeks old. My dad is a paraplegic. He has
one leg, one hip, no kidneys and my mum and dad wanted to
adopt a baby with a disability. So Cystic Fibrosis is an
invisible disability and when I was born,
my biological family were told that I would not
see through my childhood. So for them, the best decision
that they could do, for me, was to give me up for adoption, to let me be with a family
that could look after my CF and give me
the best chance at life. CF is a long-term condition
that slowly over time deteriorates. Sadly, the reality
of CF is that, you know, we do
have a life expectancy, I mean that still doesn’t
sit right with me, I’m not a carton of milk
with a use-by date. I’m 32, the life expectancy is 37
and that’s not OK. Losing people to CF, sort of became
normal and very common and every year people
would pass away and it would be, you know,
the dreaded winter cold, as I got older, you know,
would that cold kill me that year. I honestly do not have enough fingers
to count how many friends that I lost. Every time someone
with CF passes away, I feel like I lose a
little piece of me inside. It angers me, but I see that as
a reason for me to pursue and persist with what
I do every single day. Probably about six years ago,
the most amazing achievement to-date happened to me. I woke up one day and a switch,
just sort of, came on and I wanted to be a mum. So everything I was reading
did not point in the hopeful direction that I was wanting
to read about. And as my research,
sort of, began I found myself falling
pregnant, naturally. This little baby that I had
inside of me was my miracle baby and gave me health
that I’d never had before. So I now proudly say that
“I’m a mum to two little ones”. I have a four and a 6-year-old,
and having children is more so a reason now
for me to beat CF and live an extraordinary life
for my babies’ sake. I feel my role as an ambassador
for Cystic Fibrosis, in general,
is even more important. Important for the new families
that have babies with CF. Their babies, your babies
will be OK. CF is hard work,
don’t get me wrong, but don’t let it
define your world. Let it be an interruption
as it is to mine. I live with Cystic Fibrosis
every single day and I have the fear that
I have a lower life expectancy, but I have a list of ‘to-dos’,
not a list of ‘impossibles’.

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