Cystic fibrosis is a terrible disease, one which compromises lung function and leads to systemic organ degradation, slowed growth and physical weakness. Once nearly always fatal in early childhood, the condition can be managed via modern medicine, but the sufferer will always be in a disease management regimen.
For someone with cystic fibrosis, what we would consider a “normal life” is just not a reality. Alyssa Braden, 13, of Garland, Texas, suffers from cystic fibrosis, and wanted nothing more than to be a soldier in the United States Army. For three days, the Make A Wish Foundation, and the 193rd Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, made her wish come true.
Private wish: Teen fulfills dream of being a Soldier
By Cursha Pierce-Lunderman, Fort Jackson Leader
FORT JACKSON, Sc.c. — Alyssa Braden could have had any wish in the world fulfilled. But — in lieu of meeting a celebrity or visiting a theme park — the diminutive teen chose to get down and dirty.
Her wish? To join the Army.
The 13-year-old from Texas has spent the past week training with battalions in Fort Jackson's 193rd Infantry Brigade through coordination with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Alyssa participated in morning physical training sessions, rappelled down
Victory Tower, conducted convoy training missions, qualified on an M16, and saw the life that she would live as a Soldier in training.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation allows children to dream big by granting a “wish” to those suffering from a life-threatening medical condition. Alyssa said she chose joining the Army as her wish because her cystic fibrosis makes it impossible for her to enlist in the future due to Department of Defense medical restrictions.
“My uncle was in the Army and he's my favorite uncle,” Alyssa said. “When I saw him, I just always thought of him as a hero and I wanted to be like him.”
During recent family discussions, Alyssa and her family realized that she would have some trouble joining the Army.
“We have been talking to recruiters with her older sister,” said Alyssa's mother, Maggie Braden. “When Alyssa found out about asthma issues in the Army, she was devastated because she knows what she has is much worse than that.”
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, cystic fibrosis is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system characterized by the body's production of unusually thick, sticky mucus that often clogs the lungs, leading to life-threatening lung infections. Those who suffer from the disease often deal with wheezing and shortness of breath, frequent lung infections and persistent coughing.
Now, more than 13 months ago after being referred to the Make-A-Wish, she was able to see her wish fulfilled. She said her time with the Soldiers and drill sergeants at Fort Jackson has lived up to her dreams.
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Cross posted on Truth Before Dishonor