When Sutton Burnett was just five days old, her pediatrician called to inform her parents, Brittany and Jeff, that their daughter had cystic fibrosis (CF). This genetic disorder can cause life-threatening lung infections, obstruct the pancreas and stop natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
Just an hour after the diagnosis, the team from the Children's Cystic Fibrosis Center called to help the family process the overwhelming news that their precious daughter would face a lifetime of health challenges.
The Burnetts traveled to the CF clinic the same day. During their visit, Brittany and Jeff met with the entire team—the physician, nutritionist, therapist and nurses—who would serve as their support system. Their physician assured Brittany and Jeff that the team at Children's would be there for them no matter what.
Along with raising their son, Hiatt, Brittany and Jeff had to learn how to keep their daughter growing stronger every day. They make sure 2-year-old Sutton stays healthy by relying on her many medications, breathing treatments and a respiratory therapy vest—a vibrating vest that helps loosen the mucus in a CF patient's lungs. Sutton calls hers the tickle vest, and her big brother likes to be the one to help her put it on.
Sutton wears the vest for 30 minutes twice a day to help her control her condition, which she eventually will learn to manage on her own. Until then, her parents will work to keep her healthy day in and day out.
One of the many ways that Sutton has continued to be an inspiration is through Team Sutton Grace, which has raised over $100,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation over the past two years.
While there is no cure for CF, the Burnetts remain hopeful that one day CF will stand not for cystic fibrosis but for "cure found," and Children's will be with them every step of the way.
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