Katie Kelly was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis just days after she was born. But, she never let her disease define her. You’ve heard the saying - “live like you were dying” - well, this was how Katie lived for the 26 years of her life, never letting an opportunity pass her up and never letting CF slow her down. Yet, cystic fibrosis did try to slow her down.
Just days after she was born, Katie had her first surgery to remove a portion of her intestines. CF made breathing difficult - Katie took handfuls of medicine daily and performed time consuming breathing treatments each day to manage her symptoms. Hospitalizations for “tune ups”, weeks at a time, tried to keep her away from spring break trips, school dances, and other “normal teenager activities”. Yet, Katie never let this stop her. If anyone lived life to the fullest, with a smile on her face and a laugh you couldn’t forget, it was Katie.
She tried anything she could - gymnastics, Irish dance, modeling, acting, water polo and even surfing. She had no fear of the unknown and made friends wherever she went. Although taking care of her health could have a been a full-time job in itself, Katie found time to give back, working with Make a Wish and Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Katie had a way of making the world around her a better place with her positivity, joy, and laughter.
That’s why, when she lost her hard-fought battle with Cystic Fibrosis on January 15, 2016, the world lost a bright light. Katie never gave up her fight and we won’t give up on the war of ending Cystic Fibrosis. It’s hard to put into words how much of an impact Katie had on this world in her short time here, but with each life she touched she left behind a great message. Say YES! Do the things that you think you can’t. Love, smile, laugh and have fun along the way. Live like Katie and, always, be Katie Strong.