Athlete Name: Abby Dwyer Maltz
Hometown: Rochester, NY (but NYC has been home for the last 7 years)
Education: Princeton University, Harvard Law School
Tell us a little about yourself
I grew up in Rochester, New York with an incredibly loving and supportive family. When I was diagnosed at age two, forecasts were bleak. Two of my dad’s brothers had passed away from CF as children and that was the only experience with the disease my family knew. And they responded beautifully. I was raised like any other kid – taught to set goals and dream big. I had some scary health moments when I was in elementary school and had a G-tube put in because I was so thin and just couldn’t keep up with my calories despite my parents cooking me Fettuccine Alfredo and steaks for breakfast before school. The feeding tube marked a turning point and I worked really hard to stay healthy enough to one day go away to college. That was always the dream.
“Me at my healthiest is the dream for both of us.”
Who or what inspired you to be so active?
My dad taught me basketball in elementary school – I fell in love and didn’t stop for ten years. Basketball became a huge part of my adolescence and, without it, I don’t think I’d be as healthy as I am today. I don’t play anymore, but have worked to find other ways to replace that activity – today, it’s running. Each time I go for a run feels like a blessing and a challenge. I feel incredibly grateful that I can just run and as long as I can do it, I will.
What is your favorite Team Boomer memory?
This is an easy question. Crossing the finish line for Team Boomer at the Brooklyn Half. It was pretty emotional and just felt like the most pure form of happiness. I am not a long distance runner naturally and to see what you can train your body to do, even your CF body, that was an incredible experience.
What is your best fundraising tip?
Don’t be afraid to be honest. The people who know you well, those who have lived with you or known you for a long time, they probably understand what daily life is like with CF. But everybody else? They probably have no idea. Educate them, help them understand what it actually means to say that you’re an adult with CF. It’s much easier for people to donate their time and money when they feel like they understand why they’re doing it. This can be challenging and, for me, out of my comfort zone. But I promise it’s worth it.
Why do you run?
I run to do everything I can to keep my body. Everyone with CF is familiar with the frustration and disappointment that follows from an exacerbation, despite doing everything you can to stay healthy. Exercise and running are the extra effort that I can put in on top of the therapies and medications. At least I can be at peace with myself and know that I am doing everything that I can.
What is your go-to pump up song?
This is going to expose my nerdiness. I listen to podcasts and books on tape when I run. The Girl On The Train got me through many half marathon training runs.
What is your biggest motivator?
My family and our future. I have an incredible husband that supports me every single day and fights right alongside me. Me at my healthiest is the dream for both of us.