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Well, I am fifteen and honestly, writing this, I don’t feel very brilliant! I am simultaneously writing this ginormous English paper and still have to do physical therapy (a daily treatment for my cystic fibrosis).

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease I was diagnosed with at the age of nine, and everyday I deal with it. CF affects the lungs and digestive systems and is treated through both oral and IV antibiotics. The hardest thing about this is that CF never takes a Christmas Break or weekend off.

In order to help fight this disease, I started my own foundation, Laps for CF, a few years ago, and we have been so blessed to raise over one million dollars! My foundation, Laps for CF, has received so much support for which we are immensely thankful.

I know that everyone probably has a passion or dream and mine is to do all I can to fight cystic fibrosis. When I first began to attempt to raise money, my goal was only to raise $3,000, and since then, the foundation has just continued to thrive and grow.

It is really important to remember and remind yourself that there is no harm in trying, and as my fortune at a Chinese restaurant said last night, “nothing is impossible to a willing heart.”

As you all know it sure feels easy to get down. For me it happens when I get a bad grade on a Latin test, a Laps for CF event doesn’t go quite as planned, or I get into a fight with my brother. But, we must remember not to get down, because I have learned that when things don’t go right, you just have to remember that life goes on and there always another sunrise and another chance.

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Emily Schreiber was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) in January of 2003 when she was nine years old. Despite this surprise to her and her family, she confronted her condition with determination and resolve, putting together her first CF fundraising event, dubbed Laps for CF, only six weeks after her diagnosis. An avid swimmer for years, Emily’s idea for the fundraiser focused on individuals pledging dollar amounts for each lap she would swim. Emily’s idea was inspired by a Babysitter’s Club Book she had previously read called Karen’s Bike in which a girl named Karen rode her bike to raise money for a hospital.

Emily’s initial fundraising goal was to raise $3,000. However, in her first year, she raised nearly $60,000. After swimming her laps in a community pool for a couple of years, Emily’s story gained the attention of the state of Alabama’s two most prominent colleges, Auburn University and the University of Alabama. After partnering with Auburn and Alabama to host swim events involving the collegiate swimming and diving teams, the Laps for CF Foundation was born.

The Laps for CF Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of cystic fibrosis and providing financial support in all areas of need for CF research, treatment, care, and improved quality of life. Laps for CF’s priority is to keep funds directly influencing the lives of CF families and improving the local care centers they frequent. Currently, the Laps for CF Foundation has grown to not only include the swim events, but also concerts, event at Talladega Superspeedway, golf tournaments and other various fundraisers. In the summers, Emily and Laps for CF team up with BioGuard, a pool care company, to host BioGuard Splash for CF, a nationwide call to action to encourage everyone to jump in to pool to raise money in the fight against cystic fibrosis. In total, Emily’s efforts have now grossed over $1,000,000.

Currently, Emily is fifteen years old and in the tenth grade. She lives in Birmingham, AL with her parents, Allen and Stella, two brothers, Scott and William, and her dog, Ryder. Emily enjoys hanging out with her family and friends, and in her spare time likes to play piano and swim.

Emily has been highly successful at raising awareness and funds for cystic fibrosis. She has gained the attention of the following national media:

  • NBC’s Today Show
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Sports Illustrated for Kids
  • American Girl Magazine
  • Crystal Cathedral’s Hour of Power
  • Armed Services Network

Emily has received the following awards in recognition of her fundraising efforts:

  • Association of Fundraising Professionals’ National Youth in Philanthropy Award, 2008
  • Vulcan Park’s Little Giant Award, 2007
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Alabama Chapter Youth in Philanthropy Award, 2006
  • Genentech Heroes of Hope, 2006
  • Recognition by Resolution from Jefferson County, AL Commission, 2006
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