In Ancient Greece, you had to be part divine to be called a hero. Achilles’ mother was Thetis, a rather minor goddess. Heracles’ father was a god you might have heard of, Zeus. Zeus also fathered Perseus, who killed the monstrous Gorgon Medusa. Theseus’ father was Poseidon, god of the sea. Thankfully, heroes today don’t have to be the descendants of gods. In fact, today’s heroes often have to overcome obstacles rather than having their heroic status given to them by a parent.
Bryce Highman has established himself as a hero for many because of the Great Strides he’s taken to overcome cystic fibrosis (CF).
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Great Strides, Great Stories campaign highlights the community leaders throughout the country. Great Strides walks are the organization’s largest fundraiser. As part of the whole program, the foundation’s website features stories by and about the leaders within the community. Bryce Highman is one of those leaders.
In Bryce’s own words, he always knew that he had CF when he was a growing up, but he didn’t really understand it. An episode of double pneumonia, while he was in college, caused him to finally understand the full gravity of what it meant to have cystic fibrosis. He ended up being hospitalized at one point.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. CF causes a person to produce a thick mucus in their lungs and digestive tracts. The mucus results in breathing issues and reduces a person’s ability to produce and release enzymes that help with the absorption of food nutrients in the stomach. Therefore, among other things, people with CF must eat large quantities of food, more than most people can consume, yet they still have difficulty gaining weight.
As Bryce came to realize the severity of his condition, another shock hit him. A dear friend, who also happens, to have CF, underwent dual lung transplant surgery. These two events instilled in him the drive to stay on treatment, putting it before everything else, and to become more involved in the CF community.
Bryce has served in several capacities in his local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He volunteers and fundraises. He hopes that his advocacy will bring awareness to the community.