Almost 2 years ago to-date I met Nell and felt a mutual immediate certainty that we’d known each other for many lives. We knew nothing about each other yet were so comfortable and open talking about all the vulnerabilities surrounding our very different diseases. Just like that, we were suddenly best friends. It’s weird to think we ever weren’t.

I didn’t know much about cystic fibrosis (often called “65 roses”) then. But every day for the last 2 years I have grown to know it more, and every day I gain a deeper level of respect for anyone living with it. People tell me I’m inspiring a lot but I’m only the person I am today because of being inspired by Nell and her journey with CF. This I know for sure.

I just want everyone to tell their story and own it and remember who they are beyond the fear and sadness and stress and frustration. Nell, and now so many others I’ve met along the way, have helped me do that. I’m forever grateful. Words can’t describe. But sometimes little pictures in ink can try 

Martel Catalano