INSPIRING: UMW student a ‘positive role model for cystic fibrosis community’


By: Cathy Dyson, The Free-Lance Star

Mariam Ahmed talked so little about the lifelong breathing problems she’s faced that her cousin and best friend, her go-to person in times of crisis, didn’t know for years how serious the condition was.

Ahmed, a 22-year-old senior at the University of Mary Washington, has cystic fibrosis, a disorder that progressively damages the lungs and digestive system. Since infancy, she’s dealt with mucous-filled coughs and shortness of breath, pain in her lungs and fatigue.

But even at her worst times, when she ended up in intensive care in 2019, twice, after lung infections raged out of control, Ahmed focused on others, according to her cousin and best bud Zanab Farooq.

Farooq is 16 days older than Ahmed and jokes that she uses her senior status to every advantage. When the girls were younger, Farooq said she knew her cousin had some sort of ailment, but never understood its severity because Ahmed didn’t talk about it much.

Both were in middle school when Ahmed had a flareup and was hospitalized. Farooq had her own crisis to deal with: she had lost an election for class treasurer. When she visited Ahmed in the hospital, she poured out her troubles to her bed-bound cousin.

(Read the full article here)

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