Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease that currently affects approximately 30,000 people in the United States. Victims of the disease lack a cellular protein, causing a buildup of abnormally thick, sticky mucus in the lungs and other organs. The disorder can lead to serious respiratory and digestive problems.
Aug. 5, 2002 --
Twenty-one-year-old Laura Rothenberg has always tried to live a normal life, with lungs that often betray her, and the sober awareness that she may not live to see her 30th birthday.
Rothenberg was born with cystic fibrosis, a chronic disease that affects the lungs and other organs. Most of the kids with CF that she knew growing up have already died.
For the last two years, Rothenberg has been keeping an audio diary of her life, documenting her battle with the illness: from the deterioration of her lungs, to the decision to seek a transplant, and, if all goes well, more years to live and a lot less coughing.
Rothenberg plans to go back to Brown University this fall to complete her junior year in college.
Relating her story is the latest project from Joe Richman, an award-winning reporter and producer for public radio. Richman is the creator of the Teenage Diaries series, co-producer of the Sonic Memorial Project and the New York Works series broadcast on NPR, and founder of Radio Diaries Inc., a not-for-profit production company in New York City dedicated to helping people document their own lives for public radio.
Richman is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.