WILLISTON, Vt. - Weight lifting is physically challenging for anyone, but imagine doing it with limited lung function.
That's what one Vermont man is proving he can do, despite having Cystic Fibrosis.
Jarek Larivee was diagnosed with CF at birth.
The 24 year-old has always been athletic, playing sports in high school and college. After he graduated, he decided he needed a new activity to keep him active.
"I started getting into competing and bodybuilding two years ago, getting serious about it, and then I did a couple competitions for real, or like took it more seriously I guess, this past fall," said Larivee.
For those who don't know, Cystic Fibrosis is a chronic disease affecting the respiratory and digestive systems.
"When they find out, 'Oh you have CF? I know this person who has CF and they don't look like you, so it's kind of...it's like, 'yeah, I do, but I don't let it, you know, I don't let it phase me. I just kind of...keep going.'" said Larivee.
In addition to staying physically fit, two years ago, Larivee started taking a new drug for CF patients.
Dr. Thomas Lahiri, Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center at the University of Vermont, explains Orkambi is only for those with Cystic Fibrosis who have two copies of a certain kind of gene mutation.
"It does get the biggest group of patients in, but now there's trials trying to look at is there a drug combination for even just one copy of that most common mutation," said Lahiri.
Larivee says personally, he hasn't noticed a big difference with his health, but Lahiri says sometimes, that's ok.
"Fortunately that might be because they are pretty healthy already and we want to keep them that way," said Lahiri.
"Something I always think about; I could be bigger, I could be better, if I didn't have CF, but I think that's just what keeps me pushing harder," said Lahiri.
This Sunday, Larivee is hosting the Lift for CF event at Lift VT, to raise money and awareness for the disease.
"Fitness definitely saved my life, or is saving my life, helping me prolong my life," said Larivee.
The event is happening Sunday from 11 - 3 at Lift VT in Williston. For more information, click here.
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