Two families, one community, one goal


by Logan Gilman

Cystic Fibrosis: Two words that changed the lives of two local children and their families. Fifth grader Taylor Pendroy and first grader Abigail Teeter, who attend Monroe Elementary, both knew their lives were bound to be different after their diagnoses. But as they grow up, they learn what living with this disease is truly like.
Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects about 30,000 people in the United States. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that could clog the lungs and lead to life-threatening lung infections. Or, it could obstruct the pancreas and stop natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. In the 1950s, few people with the disease lived past elementary-school age, but thanks to advances in science and fundraising for research, people with the disease can expect to live to their 30s, 40s and beyond.
“I have to wear a vest twice a day for 30 minutes that shakes the mucus off of my lungs,” Taylor said. “My family sits with me while I do my vest, and they always drive me to all of my appointments.”
Taylor’s father, Mark Pendroy, said this about being a parent to somebody with the illness: “Sometimes I don’t really even notice she has it. When you look at her, she looks like the healthiest person you’ve ever seen. It’s really, really hard sometimes, though.”
The girls have to do many things that typical children don’t have to do. But Abigail’s father, Matt Teeter, said about changing his parenting style, “I don’t change it. I had two friends in high school who had Cystic Fibrosis, and they were always active and very healthy. I try not to change a lot with how I parent, because they never changed. Besides the therapy, I don’t really change anything.”
Abigail and Taylor both live very normal lives outside of the illness.
Taylor said, “I like to play basketball and hang out with my friends and talk  and have photo shoots with my friends on my phone.”
The community has always been there for the families. Matt also said, “As far as being supportive Monroe is awesome. With, I think, any kid or anybody that needs help, it’s a typical small town that rallies around people that need help, especially the kids. They’ve been great, not just with fundraising and stuff like that. They’re great to talk to, they’re always asking and always caring about Abi and Taylor. It’s a good small-town vibe from people and support from them.”
On Saturday, May 16, the annual Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides walk will take place at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines at 10 a.m. All proceeds are donated to the Iowa Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to find a cure. Also, on Saturday, June 6, the annual Cystic Fibrosis Golf Outing will be held at Gateway Recreation in Monroe. Come out and have fun, support the children and their families, and raise money to help defeat this disease.