My name is Tyrus Sleightholme. I am 17 years old and was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when I was about two weeks old.
From a young age my dad has always told me that I can achieve anything I want, as long as I believe in myself and work hard. I am very fortunate to have remained healthy over the years and I have been able to achieve many things despite dealing with the day to day regime that is required to stay on top of CF. I have always considered myself a normal person who happens to have CF, not a person with CF and I do not allow the disease to dictate my life.
I am a high level athlete, and as far as I am aware I am the first person with CF to ever play Junior hockey. I am a goalie and last year I played with the West Shore Wolves Junior B team. I am currently training hard to continue my hockey career with the goal of playing hockey and or baseball at University in Canada or in the US. I also play AAA Baseball and workout four times a week with other top Junior A and NHL drafted hockey athletes and I am just as fit as they are.
I have received numerous awards for my athletic achievements including two for overcoming adversity, I was the first recipient of The Kirk MacDonald Award from the Victoria Racquet Club Hockey Association, and this year I received The Spirit of Hockey Award from the Victoria Minor Hockey Association.
In a way having CF has been a blessing because it has taught me how to work extremely hard, be dedicated to my health and fitness, and definitely made me mentally strong. I understand that I have great control over my CF by being disciplined with my treatments and health care.
My biggest challenge with CF is the limitations others may have for me or the judgements they make when they hear I have CF. But that usually only lasts for a short time when I am able to show that in fact I can perform at a higher fitness level than most even though I have CF.
I do realize that even with my positive attitude, for some CF is a horrible disease leading to a shortened and very difficult life. That is why education about CF and raising funds for new and improved medical treatments is so important. I hope for the day when CF has been wiped out. There has been tremendous advancements in treatments and care for patients with CF and I am extremely confident that with the continued support of volunteers, researchers and donors we will beat CF.
Lastly I would like to thank the following people who have provided me support and guidance throughout the years:
Dr Steven Kent and the Victoria CF team
Chris Atchison – Hockey Coach
Brady Robinson – Goalie Coach
James Gaertner – Goalie Coach
Jeff Compton – Hockey Guru/Trainer
And of course my parents and grandparents