The Smith's Story

0

This is the story of how a PWCF met a very special person in a CF Chat Room and how living with Cystic Fibrosis doesn’t have to stop you from finding the person of your dreams.

My Story
I was born on November 30, 1976 and on December 2, I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis after they had discovered a hard mass in my intestines. That same day they did an intestinal surgery to remove the blockage. I stayed in intensive care for three to four months after surgery due to complications. Eventually I pulled through and was considered a miracle baby by everyone involved because my parents were told I wasn’t going to make it past the second week.

The next 24 years of my life proved to be a challenge. I was in and out of the hospital so much that it made the ability to be a normal functioning child with a life threatening illness nearly impossible. Dealing with Cystic Fibrosis in grade school wasn’t that hard, but life in High School is where it all seemed to get more complicated each and every day.

Dating was an extra curricular activity that everyone else enjoyed except myself. Having Cystic Fibrosis, you tend to hit growth spurts and things of that nature much later in life than everyone else, so I was always smaller than all the other guys. If I did manage to get a date, let alone a girlfriend, as soon as they learned the truth about my Cystic Fibrosis, it wouldn’t take long for them to find someone else. Some would try to understand and really seemed to care and others would tell me they didn’t and couldn’t handle my sickness. But in the end they all left for the same reason…until I met Jeannine, the woman I have always dreamed about.

Meeting My Future Wife
When I met Jeannine, I was hosting

STARBRIGHT World’s Cystic Fibrosis Chats. I had been a STARBRIGHT World member at my hospital for the past 4 years and had recently become a Community Leader (a program on STARBRIGHT World for kids who stand out and make a difference in other kids’ lives.) I would go online and talk to other kids who were in the hospital and answer questions and offer advice on living with Cystic Fibrosis.

One sunny afternoon, I was conducting a Cystic Fibrosis chat when someone named “Cmhneen” entered the room. Instantly I felt a draw towards her name, and I didn’t know why. She asked if anyone was from Kansas City or if anyone was 24, which really surprised me since most STARBRIGHT World users are teenagers or younger, and so I really wanted to chat with her.

She was intelligent and had lots to say. The conversation with her was fantastic. I finally got the courage up to ask her if she would Video Conference with me. She was embarrassed that I had to see her while she was in bed sick, but it didn’t matter to me. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen and instantly I was attracted to her looks as well as her personality.

We kept in touch for the next couple of months. Finally one day, I told her I had some time off from another job I had started and wondered if she would mind if I came up to visit. She said she would love that, so I made flight plans to fly up to her hometown for our first meeting in person. As soon as I stepped of the plane I started looking around for the girl I got a glimpse of on the STARBRIGHT World computer. Even though I saw her one time for a brief hour or so, I was positive I could pick her out of a crowd. No further did I take ten steps of the plane, and there she was. I walked up to her and gave her a hug. That was the best feeling in the world, after two long months, to finally be able to be near the girl I knew I had fallen in love with.

The Proposal
When I arrived back to Chattanooga after my trip, Jeanine was all I could think about. Whenever I had a chance, I would fly back up to visit. We talked on the phone, wrote letters, and sent emails to keep us occupied between visits. I knew I wanted to marry Jeannine, so I started trying to figure out how I could afford an engagement ring to give to her.

When I finally made the purchase, I showed the ring to her parents. They couldn’t believe their eyes, and the first thing her mother said was,”Oh my he actually did it!” A month or so earlier I asked her father permission to marry his daughter, so they knew it was coming they just didn’t know when!

Jeannine was released from the hospital a few days after her birthday. Jeannine’s mom made reservations at a nice restaurant, and I had a plan. We all made it to the restaurant, and all the workers knew what was going to happen. Jeannine’s mom knew, her dad knew and so did her grandma and grandpa. The plan was I was going to get everyone’s attention, stand up and purpose right there in the restaurant.

She never suspected a thing. I got everyone’s attention and told them this was a birthday dinner for my girlfriend. I told everyone it was special because she had been hospitalized for a very long period, and it finally looked as if she was going to be ok. I said I wanted this to be a dinner she would never forget, and that’s when I took out the ring, got on one knee, and asked her to marry me! She was so surprised, she couldn’t speak at first, and all she could do was cry. She finally said yes, and made me the happiest guy on the face of the earth.

That is my story of how I met the woman of my dreams.

— Submitted by Michael in April, 2004