by Rhonda Massad
When Twenty six year old Chelsea Gagnon found out P.K. was going to be signing autographs at the Children’s hospital she got her bed risen butt in gear and challenged the powers of social media to communicate with him and ask him to visit her in the adjacent Royal Victoria hospital.
Chelsea is stuck in the hospital with pneumonia, a complication from living with Cystic Fibrosis. She has played hockey since she was 9 and is a true to life Habs fan.
“Being physically active is actually great treatment for people with cystic fibrosis as it helps us to cough and move the mucous in our lungs that harbour infection. I still get on the ice every week, and try to watch every game, like any true Habs fan!” she said.
The powers of social media made her dream come true and it reached P.K.’s ears.
“I can’t wait to see her,” Subban tweeted.
He delivered a jersey to her room last Sunday night.
Chelsea was born with Cystic Fibrosis and had a life expectancy of 18 years. Today she is expected to live to the age of 44. In recent months she decided to go public with her deadly disease in hopes of raising awareness and work towards a cure.
“I am very proud of her. She is very brave,” Chelsea’s mom Deidre Delaney said. “She has made the best decision to raise awareness of this disease. More awareness will hopefully mean more funding and move closer to a cure. They have many treatments, but no cure, yet.”
According to Delaney, people look at Chelsea and say she looks fine. But the damage is on the inside. The lungs, the pancreas, the liver, the kidneys.
“There is so mucous in my lungs that breathing is an issue and most people don’t think about breathing but its all i think about.” Chelsea explained. “When there is mucous in my lungs germs can thrive. I have to do all these things to move the mucous and get it out. I lose function when the infections take hold and scaring happens.”
According to Gagnon she spends hours each day doing physiotherapy, taking pills, injections and inhaling medications all in an effort to maintain a baseline of health that is severely below the average person. Gagnon who graduated with a degree in education, can not move out on her own because she can only commit to part time employment due to the disease. Working in a classroom environment proved impossible as she was in contact with too many germs.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that occurs when a child inherits two abnormal genes, one from each parent. Approximately, one in 25 Canadians carry an abnormal version of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis. Carriers do not have cystic fibrosis, nor do they exhibit any of the symptoms of the disease.
Follow Chelsea Gagnon on Facebook @ Chelsea Fights Cystic Fibrosis.