Dayton girl handles cystic fibrosis with a great attitude

By Tyler Gregory

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that more than 33,000 people live with in the United States, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry. Cystic fibrosis is a complex disease that results in the buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. The mucus in the lungs can block airways and trap bacteria and mucus in the pancreas can prevent the release of digestive enzymes.

May was Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, and A Special Wish Foundation — Dayton Chapter (ASW) was honored to grant a wish to Ahbri Lynch, a 4-year-old from Dayton with cystic fibrosis. Ahbri was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth, and it was a scary thing for her mother, Charlotte, to hear.

“Parenting can be hard enough at a young age, but having a child who is born with a disease, like CF, can make things more difficult,” Charlotte said.

Ahbri has to wear a vest that vibrates at high frequencies twice a day for 30 minutes each to loosen and thin mucus. In addition to the vest, Ahbri does three treatments a day for 10 minutes each. Charlotte thinks that we can all take a lesson away from Ahbri’s attitude because, despite her having cystic fibrosis, she always manages to have a smile on her face through the good, bad and ugly.

Ahbri loves to watch Disney movies during her treatments to pass the time, so it was not hard when she was deciding what her special wish would be. Without hesitation, she stated that she wished to meet the “Frozen” characters and, of course, Mickey Mouse.

From the day that Ahbri found out her wish was going to be granted, she would not stop talking about it. For weeks she would ask her mother if they were going to leave yet. Finally, the day came for them to embark to the happiest place on Earth, Walt Disney World. They stayed at ASW partner Give Kids the World Village and got to experience all of the magic that Disney World has to offer.

“When we walked into Magic Kingdom and Ahbri saw Cinderella’s Castle for the first time, she instantly lit up and the biggest smile came across her face,” Charlotte said. “Nothing could have taken that smile away.”

Dressed as Cinderella, Princess Ahbri was also treated as a special guest at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot Center, in which she got to dine with Disney princesses. The experience made her feel like a Disney princess herself. Seeing all of the characters who kept her company during her long treatments come to life and interact with her was perhaps the most magical part of the trip. It was something that the whole family will cherish forever.

Ahbri’s wish to go to Walt Disney World was granted thanks to generous donations from people in the Dayton region. ASW is granting several wishes over the summer months, and many of those will also be made possible through individual and business contributions.

Several other local children battling cystic fibrosis have been granted special wishes over the years. Wish kid Luke visited Walt Disney World, and Macy met the cast of “Dancing With the Stars.” Siblings Zoe and Gavin, both of whom have cystic fibrosis, were also granted their wishes to go to Walt Disney World and meet race-car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2014. Gavin even got to race go-carts alongside Earnhardt Jr. at his residence in North Carolina. (Gavin took the checkered flag!)