Lindsay Wagner has lived a life of monumental challenges that began at only 10 weeks old. That’s when she was first diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a progressive disease that causes lung infections, limiting a person’s ability to breathe and eventually leading to respiratory failure.
“Having CF has made me realize that life is truly what you make of it,” says Lindsay, who despite these setbacks lives with optimism and hope. “You learn to work with what you’ve got. Also, for me it has made me realize to be kind to others as everyone has problems, regardless of what they are. Something I’m still learning is to try to be positive, which can be hard when your CF flares up. Your mind can be your friend or your enemy. It is up to you which it is going to be.”
Unfortunately, her condition took a turn for the worse late last year after her left lung collapsed. Medical staff tried to inflate the lung, but it did not respond. And because her right lung was diseased, she received a double lung transplant early this year, a procedure that was met with complications.
Due to this long road to recovery, including medical bills, doctor visits and a likely end to her career as a social worker, Lindsay faces a difficult road ahead. As a result, nonprofit Inspire Within has organized the upcoming “Amazing Angel Cake 5K,” Sunday, Oct. 1, a 5K, walk and 1-mile fun run that takes place at Silver Springs Park, 5027 Stow Road, in Stow. The proceeds will help Lindsay with her medical bills and other costs.
Inspire Within also hosted a fundraising dinner at Peachtree Southern Kitchen and Cocktails in Hudson in July, which drew 180 people to support Lindsay’s cause.
She says she’s pleased with the outpouring of support she’s seen, and she hopes the event will elevate the awareness around cystic fibrosis. “So many people have volunteered or registered for the race as well as attending the benefit dinner,” she says. “It really does make you realize there are good people out there with big hearts.
Cystic fibrosis is chronic in nature and often hinders a person’s daily routine due to medications and respiratory treatments, not to mention infections. (Due to her recovery, Lindsay answered her interview questions via text.)
Despite these challenges, Lindsay lives her life to the fullest. For example, the name of the run derives from her admitted love of sweets. And her altruistic spirit led her to pursue a career in social work, which she was able to maintain for 10 years. But at 40, she may not be able to hold a job again due to the progressive complications of her condition.
“My advice to others with CF is to do what you can while you can. Enjoy the hard times. I also appreciate the support of family and friends,” says Lindsay, who grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, attending St. Vincent, St. Mary High School, and continuing her education at the University of Akron. “I have some truly amazing friends, and my family has been extremely supportive during this difficult time. What I lack in health I make up for in family and friends.”
Registration for the race begins Sunday, Oct. 1 at 7 a.m. and wraps up at 10:30 a.m., with an after-party featuring music, concessions, face-painting and other activities. For registration and volunteer info, visit www.inspire-within.com.
Sponsors include Ruhlin, Planet Fitness, Nordec, Inc., J. Russell Construction, Andy Dodd and Gary Dodd O.D., Wolff Bros. Supply Inc., NutrientRichLife.org, Peachtree Peachtree Southern Kitchen and Cocktails and Kaulig Capital, Bain Enterprises, Cupcake Binge and RDP Sports.