The man who wasn’t supposed to live past 18 years of age

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

When Chuck Fox was born, doctors told his parents there was a strong chance he would not live past 18 years of age. They also said those years would be very challenging. You see, Chuck was born with a terrible disease called cystic fibrosis (CT), a sickness that causes a lot of thick sticky mucus to build up inside your lungs, making it very difficult to breathe.

“Living with [this condition] is like walking on a treadmill that never stops,” he wrote in a recent CNN article, “But what are those of us supposed to do who face this challenge? Jump off the machine? Give up?”

Definitely not. Fox was determined to live with this disease. At 39 years old he has succeeded, despite a difficult journey.

As a young boy, Chuck would spend hours every day taking many types of medicines and performing strenuous breathing exercises. Still, he found enough time and energy to play soccer outside with his buddies after long days at school. This isn’t to say Chuck slacked off in school. He actually spent endless hours studying his books and acing his schoolwork. It was difficult, but all his toughness and can-do attitude got him into Harvard Medical school! Nowadays, people call him Dr. Fox.

“Some people find my ability to deal with cystic fibrosis ‘inspirational.’ But I’ve never really meant to inspire anyone. I’m just trying to live my life,” he said humbly.

Even though he has lived so long with the disease, he admits it gets pretty hard. He still has to spend many hours training his lungs, which includes wearing a mechanical vest, several inhalers, and breathing nebulizers. Sounds like science fiction, huh? Yet still, he’s able to balance a busy work life and enjoy quality time with his loving family.

Does he sometimes feel sorry for himself? Absolutely not. In fact, he considers himself “one of the luckiest” people in the world. He reminds us all that life comes with many challenges, but we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue “trying to reach our goals, and, ultimately, achieve success.”