Point of View

Point of View
Written by Alicia Ortiz

Alicia (left) and Dawn

Everyone meets new friends in school. I met my best friend Dawn McGeoch-Ramnath in 1978 in the first grade. In 1982 when our moms became coworkers and good friends, Dawn and I became even closer friends. Our families got together often to do fun things -- our favorite was school clothes shopping every year.

Although I knew Dawn and her sister Kathy had a disease called cystic fibrosis, as a child all that meant to me was that they had to take their enzyme pills when they ate. There were times I recall them being in the hospital because they were sick, however I never understood how truly serious this disease actually was. I had asthma, and figured that was a disease, so how was CF different?

Dawn and I continued being friends all throughout high school and into adulthood. As I grew up and spent more time with Dawn, it allowed me to better understand CF and how it affected her.

We were best friends, and so were our boyfriends, who then later became our husbands. Dawn dreamed of a happy, healthy, normal life. On her quest of finding this happy normal life, she met a man who loved her dearly and wanted to spend the rest of his life by her side. To their surprise, Dawn became pregnant! Dawn felt being pregnant was a blessing and something she truly believed could never happen, but it did! Making decisions that concerned her health always became a big debate of will and strength, but Dawn knew she wasn’t going to get healthier, so she needed to take this chance and have a family. Her doctors were concerned that her health would diminish significantly during her pregnancy, but she gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl in June of 1999. And against the odds, Dawn’s health was not significantly affected by the pregnancy.

Dawn always expressed to me how one day she hoped a cure for CF would be found. In May 2005, at age 33, Dawn lost her battle to cystic fibrosis. Dawn’s sister Kathy is still well at age 40.

A year after Dawn passed away my family and friends decided to start participating in the Great Strides walk in Holtsville, NY. After several years of attending Great Strides I became more familiar with the friendly staff at the Foundation and started volunteering my time in addition to fundraising for the walk. The current and past staff at the Foundation have helped me honor Dawn’s memory and dream of having CF stand for Cure Found. Although Dawn will never be able to see a cure for CF, it is my hope that Dawn’s daughter will see a cure in her lifetime and her mom’s dream become a reality.