Personal Project - Cystic Fibrosis:

I am working with the CF Foundation to create dramatic, powerful, and intimate portraits of people with Cystic Fibrosis to help bring awareness to this genetic disease. Airway clearance techniques (ACTs) and nebulizers are treatments that help people with CF stay healthy and breathe easier.  Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease of the mucus glands that affects many body systems. The disorder's most common signs and symptoms include progressive damage to the respiratory system and chronic digestive system problems.  

ACTs loosen thick, sticky lung mucus so it can be cleared by coughing or huffing. Clearing airways reduces lung infections and improves lung function. ACTs are often used with other treatments, like inhaled bronchodilators and antibiotics.

Nebulizers break down liquid medicine into aerosol mist that can be inhaled by the patient through a mouthpiece or facemask. Like inhalers, these devices can deliver medication straight into the lungs by simply inhaling the medication mist

Quotes from the children photographed in this series:

"My nebulizer is a machine that turns my liquid medications into mist so that when I breathe in while wearing the nebulizer mask the medication can go deep into my lungs."

"It's my breathing treatment.  It's funny when I turn my vest to 18.  I shake around and when I take tube out of vest and blows my hair all over the place."

Describe CF:  "It's like a disease where you have to take pills whenever you eat and you have to do your breathing and shaking every morning and every night.  Then you have to do this nose stuff to wash out your nose and that's all.  It's really easy."

"I was ten and a half when the doctor walked into the examination room and told my mom and I the devastating news.  My mom was sad and trying not to cry - we both knew about this disease because a relative died at the age of twenty-two.  I asked the doctor if I was going to die and he told me, “It's possible...” The doctor also told me that I would have to use a machine called the VEST every day for the rest of my life to break up the mucus in my lungs."

"Sometimes I think about what my future will be like with CF and it makes me sad.  Other times I am thankful for the medical advances and research through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  When I was younger, I'd wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to breathe.  I would panic because I couldn't move the sticky mucus to catch my breath.  My mom or dad would pound my back to help me breathe.  Now that I use my VEST and take the medications to help me breathe, I am doing a lot better."

My story published with Camera Obscura here http://www.co-mag.net/2013/kyle-monk