Model Citizen: Cystic Fibrosis Patient Uses Instagram to Inspire Others
Many viral Instagram users post fitness and bikini pictures, and so does Sophie Holmes. The difference? Sophie is a cystic fibrosis patient aiming to inspire others. With a whopping 19,500 followers, she's spreading the word that nobody should let a diagnosis stop them from achieving their dreams.
Sophie was born ten weeks premature and was quickly diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. The doctors said she would likely live only into her teenage years. For her, cystic fibrosis made life feel limited. Patients with the disease experience a thick, sticky build-up of mucus in the digestive system, lungs, and other organs, so it is extremely common for them to have lung infections. Digestion, too, may be hindered. Despite all of this, Sophie managed to stay in good health; she shared that she did all the same things her friends did and even avoided hospitalization until the age of 19. Sophie finally realized how serious her condition was when she ended up in the hospital, but instead of feeling down about it, she began looking at her situation in a positive way. She made a list of things she wanted to do and decided to be as healthy and as fit as possible. She stuck to her decision and blogged her every experience and fitness movement. Through this, Sophie built a network of friends and supporters who consistently rooted for her. They found her posts inspirational and gravitated to her blog. She shared that, due to the risk of cross contamination from lung infections, a person with cystic fibrosis cannot meet others. But she has access to social media and a blog to connect to people, and in return, Sophie received overwhelming support; for example, her followers sent her hundreds of well-wishes when she was hospitalized a second time.
Currently, Sophie is a personal trainer in Leigh-on Sea, Eddex. She has completed a 100-km race, and even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. She also raises awareness and funds for cystic fibrosis. Sophie wants to inspire and empower others, irrespective of whether they have the disease or not. She wants to share her journey, both her triumphs and struggles. She maintains a positive attitude even through these hardships, and she hopes that others will follow her example, as she wants them to achieve success, too.
Sophie has to take medications along with 50 tablets 30 times each day to keep her disease at bay. However, she still continues her fitness regime and manages to remain fit. She wants other people to live their lives to the fullest just as she does. Sophie takes on physical challenges as well as mental ones in the hopes that others will push themselves beyond their comfort zones.
Doctors have found Sophie’s attitude refreshing and real, although she says her doctor first thought she’d gone nuts. But after seeing her story online, she hopes doctors will encourage people with CF to get themselves involved in physical activity; maintaining heightened fitness has some incredible benefits, after all. Sophie believes her life was changed by fitness, and so, through her experiences, she shows that physical health is extremely important. The direst of diagnoses can be overcome through healthy living and can help people to live life to the fullest. Sophie’s next plan is to race in the Sahara Desert. According to her, life is uncertain every day. But she has big plans for each one of hers.