Believing in New Possibilities for the Future
By Lisa C. Greene
Today, my daughter said a phrase she uses a lot: "When I'm a doctor someday..." and for the first time, ever, my heart didn't falter at wondering if she ever would be. Today, for the first time, I have a realistic hope for my children's futures as doctors, engineers, parents and maybe even gray-haired retirees.
This week, Vertex released the groundbreaking news that they had good results with a medication for cystic fibrosis that might just save both of my children's lives and, at the very least, give them several more years to make their dreams come true.
Yes, I know that the results were nowhere near those of the first drug released, Kalydeco. Yes, I know that there is still a long road to go until we actually have a pill in our hands. Yes, I know that if and when this medication is available, it will be very expensive. Yes, I know that this combination of drugs did not work for everyone in the study and that there may be side effects. Yes, I know that there may be letdowns and that it's "dangerous" to have unrealistic expectations; I've been there before. And yes, I know that there are many who are left behind and for whom this is too little, too late. For this last point particularly, I deeply grieve.
However, I also know that this news in this moment is another step forward, perhaps a leap, as we race towards a cure. Let's be clear, this new drug is not a cure. It is but one additional tool in our growing medical toolbox; one in many steps still needed before we can say CF is defeated. But the fact that this medication did somethingpositive at a cellular level for such a complex genetic disease is nearly miraculous.
We certainly don't know the future, none of us does. There are no guarantees in life for anyone on planet earth. Just turn on the news for five minutes and that will become crystal clear. But for me, today, I feel like there is real hope on the near horizon for my two children with CF.
And I am so grateful; grateful to the people with CF who have lived and died over generations. I am grateful to the CF Foundation and the many thousands of fundraisers, volunteers and supporters who have worked hard to raise the money to seed research for a rare genetic disease. I am grateful to Vertex for taking the risks and putting the best minds in the business to the task of making our lives better. I am grateful to our doctors and medical professionals everywhere who care for us and guide us. And I am grateful to my two children who get up every morning and do hours of medical treatments, take dozens of pills and who still live meaningful, happy lives filled with dreams and plans for the future.
Thank you, all of you, for playing your part in bringing us to this moment, today, when my daughter says: "Someday when I...." and we can both believe in the possibilities for her future.