Athlete Name: Connor Hess
Hometown: Poughquag, New York
Education: 8th Grader, Union Vale Middle School
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Connor Hess, I am 14 years old and on the High Honor Roll at Union Vale Middle School in Dutchess County, NY. I enjoy hunting and fishing and am very active in sports. I started playing baseball and soccer when I was just four years old. I played youth football and was lucky to play against the team that my CF doctor, Dr. Boyer coached. One year his team won, and then our team won the next year – so we are even but I’d love the chance to break the tie. I plan on trying out for football when I start Arlington High School in September. I also started wrestling for my middle school in 7th grade and just finished my second season in February. I like to go to the gym, hang out with friends and play video games in my spare time. I live with my parents, Bryan and Corinne and my brother Dylan and our dog Roscoe.
My parents didn’t find out that I had Cystic Fibrosis until my 1st birthday. They went to the Dr. to rule it out, but the tests didn’t rule it out, instead they confirmed that the issues I had from birth were because of CF. I don’t like having Cystic Fibrosis because it makes me different from everyone else, but Dr. Boyer says that I am living a healthy life in spite of my CF. I hate taking my enzymes with me and doing my breathing treatments and vest, but I know if I don’t do them I will eventually not be able to do the things I love. I have been very lucky that I have never been in the hospital and they keep telling me my lung function is amazing. My mom will tell you that is because I haven’t stopped fighting since the day I was born, that gets me in trouble a lot of times.
Even though I am healthy for a sick kid, it is hard having CF and wanting to be a regular kid. When my friends want to have a sleepover, I have to remember to do my meds and vest before I go, I have to remember to bring my enzymes with me and to take them when eating meals. I hate having to explain to people why I take them and what happens to me if I don’t take my meds.
“I am healthy today because of exercise and sports”
Tell us what motivates you the most.
I am motivated to stay healthy because I do not want Cystic Fibrosis to stop me from doing what I want to do and being with my friends and family. Having fun and doing things with them is important to me.
Why do you exercise?
I exercise because I like to be in shape and be active. I like to work out and go to the gym. Keeping active makes me feel better and makes me more competitive in sports. I hope that by being stronger and faster my lungs will stay healthy and CF will not slow me down.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I am not sure what I want to be when I grow up but I have thought about being a police officer.
Who is your role model?
We keep a picture of a young girl named Jena on our refrigerator. Jena fought CF very hard and sadly she did not win the fight. We keep her picture there to remind us of what a fighter she was and that I need to fight just as hard every day.
What is your message to other people with CF about exercise?
I would tell people who have CF to exercise often to try to keep your lungs healthy. I think starting out playing sports at a young age helped me stay active and healthy. I think I am healthy today because of exercise and sports.