As I wrote earlier this week, I am grateful and blessed to work with some great non-profit organizations. The second one I’d like to tell you about is CF Riders. It was founded by my friends Brian and Christie Johnson. So, how did I get involved with this group?
Well, suffice it to say God’s “networking” puts the best politician or salesperson to shame!
Brian and I were great friends in college; I always looked on him quite like a brother (and still do). He met and started dating a great girl named Christie, graduated and moved away from Valdosta, and I lost touch with my friend. Fast forward XXXX years (actual dates have been redacted to protect the somewhat innocent) and enter Facebook. Brian and I reconnected and got a chance to catch up on what’s happening in each other’s lives – marriage, kids, jobs, the works!
What you don’t know about my friend Brian is that he suffers from Cystic Fibrosis (CF). I knew this in college, but he never seemed to let it stop him or affect his life. As he is fond of saying, he has CF, but it doesn’t have him. Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects over 30,000 children and adults within the USA alone. The disease causes the body to produce a thick sticky mucus that makes patients easily susceptible to lung infection and disease. CF also causes digestive problems, and in most cases CF patients take pancreatic enzymes to help break down nutrients. CF also causes a high rate of infertility in adults and especially in males with the disease
In 2010, Brian and Christie established CF Riders to show the world (particularly those who have CF) that the diagnosis doesn’t have to define you. Brian was diagnosed with CF when he was seven. At that time, his life expectancy was seventeen years of age. They didn’t even expect him to graduate from high school, but he did. They didn’t expect him to graduate from college, but he did. They didn’t expect him to become a husband and father, but he did.
The current life expectancy is 37 years (which is Brian’s age today). And yet he, Christie and their adorable daughter Hayden about to hit the road on a 14,000 mile Nationwide Ride for Life.
You are probably thinking that he’s insane, right?! I mean what is a man with a life-threatening illness doing getting on a motorcycle and riding around the country. (Did I mention he had never put his skinny butt on a motorcycle in his whole life?) So, what in the heck is he thinking? Well, he’s stepping out in faith to execute a mission to which he’s been called. To get the full story, you should really read it in Brian’s own words. Check out his blog or the CF Riders Web site.
I am proud of him for answering the call he heard while driving down Interstate 20. I am so proud and blessed to be a very small part of what CF Riders is doing to give hope to those with CF! CF Riders’ work has reconnected me with a dear friend, let me get to know a new friend (his wife), and given me another opportunity to use my skills to help those in need.
Thanks Brian & Christie for letting me be a part of the “road crew” even though I have never ridden a motorcycle and I am NOT getting a tattoo! If you’d like to support their ministry or just go along for the ride*, get in touch!
*Seriously! They’d love company on the road!