Six-year-old second cousins Emily Bateson and Melissa Powell of British Columbia have many things in common – they were born weeks apart, live minutes away from each other and meet up regularly for play dates. They also have cystic fibrosis.
In 2001, when she was just over two months old, Emily was diagnosed with CF. Melissa, who was similarly underweight and lethargic, tested positive soon after. The news came as a shock to both sets of parents, who at the time, didn’t know they were CF carriers.
“We were all devastated. I think at first you go through some denial and it was difficult to talk about it. We dealt with the initial shock separately,” said Lisa Lockett, Melissa’s mother.
As time went on, the mothers were eventually able to lean on each other for support. They compared therapies for their children and, along the way, celebrated the girls’ successes with treatments.
“It’s so good for the girls to know someone else [with CF]. They know that they’re not alone and that there are others out there who know what they’re going through,” said Karen Bateson, Emily’s mother.
Since the girls’ diagnoses, their mothers have marveled at how well their children have responded to the treatments and have incorporated them into their routines. As they grow older and understand CF better, the mothers hope that Emily and Melissa can continue to support each other.
“They’re so good and CF is just a small part of who they are. They’re beautiful, lively kids who are going to be amazing women,” added Lisa.