Exton, Pa. woman's nonprofit helps cystic fibrosis patients with medical bills

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system. Only 30,000 people in the US have it.

Jessica Boyington Image
Monday, August 23, 2021
Nonprofit helps cystic fibrosis patients with medical bills
Maddy Palmer, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at a young age, started a nonprofit to help others who are battling the disease pay for their medical bills.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Maddy Palmer is a 25-year-old software engineer from Exton, Pennsylvania.

She lives a full life doing what she loves: going to the Jersey Shore, working out and being with her friends and family.

But Palmer also has cystic fibrosis and was diagnosed along with her older sister at a young age.

"Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease you've inherited from your parents. Both parents carry the gene. You have a 25% chance of getting it," say says. "The most common one is the Delta 508, which my sister and I both have."

CF is a life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system, and it's rare. Only 30,000 people in the United States have it, and it's not an easy life.

"(It) attacks the whole body, and we have a lot of mucus in our lungs. So it makes it really hard to breathe. It's like breathing through a coffee straw," said Palmer.

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Access to new drugs and treatments have allowed Palmer and her sister to live more comfortably with minimal trips to the hospital, and this inspired her to help others live better with the disease.

"When the pandemic hit, I knew people were struggling with mortgages and financial bills. And we throw in CF or any disease, and it's really costly," said Palmer.

In October 2020, she created a nonprofit called "Creating Sunshine Forever." It assists people with cystic fibrosis by covering medical bills and other financial obligations like groceries. She collects donations through events, fundraisers and social media outlets.

"I thought I can do more and why wouldn't I? You know, my whole life I struggled, I was there, so I know what they're going through," Palmer said.

So far, Creating Sunshine Forever has raised about $30,000, and the money has been distributed to 15 people with the illness.

"It's something bigger than yourself. And, you know, to see everyone struggling, and then you're in a position to help everyone, it's just amazing," said Palmer.

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