My name is Yasmin Canales and I have recently turned 18 years old. I am a member of Little Lobbyists, an organization who advocates for kids with complex medical needs and disabilities. I am a high school senior, just accepted into my top 2 choices for college. I love swimming, work as a lifeguard, and am a youth group leader with a passion for sharing my faith. I was also born with a genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis, which affects all my organs, but especially my respiratory and digestive systems. I was first diagnosed at 18 months old and my lung condition was so bad that I had to have parts of my lungs removed. The doctors told my parents that my health didn’t look good and that I may not live to celebrate my 10th birthday. As you can clearly see, I've beaten that statistic, but I'm still in a fight for my life, and it's a race against time.
Since birth, I have had over 30 hospitalizations for weeks at a time as well as 15 surgeries. I take 21 different medications, including over 35 pills daily, and 2-4 hours of intense respiratory therapies. Even though much of my management of cystic fibrosis requires a strict routine, and a great deal of self-discipline, each day can still be very different. No matter how well I try to take care of myself, eat right, take my meds and exercise, sometimes I will fall prey to a lung infection anyway. That's just the reality.
On days where I am not sick or feeling fatigued, I spend my time with friends, swimming, watching movies, and enjoy family time! I am excited to go off to college in the next upcoming months, and although I know that this is going to be a big move and challenge for me, I am empowered to continue forward in this life and achieve my goals, no matter what!