POLK COUNTY, Fla. — People with Cystic Fibrosis have an average life expectancy of just 44 years old — and that's of the people who make it to adulthood. It's a progressive genetic disease that causes lung infections, limits a person's ability to breathe, and impacts more than 30,000 people.
Shania Arms has spent her whole life fighting to survive Cystic Fibrosis.
“Feeling like I'm drowning all the time in my own body," she said.
She needs a lung transplant to continue that fight. Her oxygen tank has been her life line for the last three months. Her form of cystic fibrosis affects her lungs and stomach.
Doctors told her she wouldn't live past the age of 21.
“Every time I accomplish and go over the goal of that number, I get very emotional every birthday, so I’ll just literally cry," Arms said.
At 23 years old, her lungs are failing. To get on the lung transplant list, Arms needs to have enough money saved for post-transplant medication, which is $18,000 dollars per month, for three months. She's ahd to turn to her Polk County Community for help.
“I don’t let the disease take control of me, and I feel at this moment I have to be that vulnerable person, and I have to rely on my community and my family and friends, and that’s a really difficult thing for me to do. And it makes me very emotional that people are actually out there willing to help me," Arms said.
She's already beaten the odds, and said she won’t give up now.
“I always said I didn’t want the disease to be the one that takes me out in this world, so I don’t plan on letting it be the reason I die," she said.
To learn more about Cystic Fibrosis, click here.
For more information on how to help Arms, click here.