OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — May is Cystic Fibrosis awareness month.
The disease causes thick mucus to buildup in a person's lungs making if difficult to breath, and digest food.
27-year-old Lydia Sand has had the disease since birth, but she wasn't diagnosed until she was 9. Sand tells us, she hasn't let Cystic Fibrosis, or CF, dictate her life.
"I can't ignore the fact that I have CF, so why not make it the best I can be," she said.
Sand says the diagnosis turned her world upside down, but she isn't letting that stop her.
"Why not be positive and continue to live my life," Sand said. And not let CF define me, nor what I can do."
There is no cure for CF. Right now, the average life expectancy is about 40 years old.
"We came up with the motto, Get Smart and Stay Positive, and we put it on our fridge and that just kind of became our mantra as we learned what CF was," Sand said.
Sand and her family created Team Lydia, to raise awareness about CF, as well as money for research dollars in hopes of finding a cure.
Before Sand's first Great Strides Walk, Team Lydia raised $10,000 for research. Since then, Sand tells us she's raised about $100,000 for CF Fibrosis in her lifetime.
"In my opinion [it] is not enough," Sand said. There's way more I can do and there's more energy and effort I can continue to put forward because CF deserves a cure."
Over the years, more people have participated in the Great Strides Walk, and donated to Sand's cause.
She tells us, the emotions she feels after the walk are overwhelming.
"It's kind of amazing," she said. You bring everyone together from all walks of life and they're here to support me, they're here to support other families with CF and that's just incredibly powerful."
The Great Strides Walk is on Saturday at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village.
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