My #LetMeBeYourLungs Experience: Camille Frede

December 18,2017

When I was young, my family always emphasized exercising (specifically bicycling). My mother and father, who are big into biking, had us children (my older brother Charles and my younger brother Harrison) on bicycles at a very young age. In fact, the reason why my parents thought something was unusual with me was because of biking.

I would become blue and short of breath when we would go on family bike rides. At the age of four, after years of pestering the local pediatrician in Grand Rapids, Michigan about my continued “smurfette” like appearance, he finally decided to run some tests. After a series of tests and doctors appointments at the University of Michigan, I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension (PH).

Throughout the next few years, my family and I would battle PH by searching out the best physicians possible in order to treat it. It was with this search for physicians that I finally met Team PHenomenal Hope athlete Julie Tracy at the Brigham Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Massachusetts. Julie and I hit it off from the very beginning because of our shared interest in biking and our love of exercise.

Julie and I exchanged emails in preparation for participating in Team PH’s #LetMeBeYourLungs program, and I felt extremely grateful and flattered that she chose me for whom to ride. Julie is a truly uplifting individual, and has helped me push myself on more than one occasion during exercise testing with the stationary bike. It has become a joke between Julie, myself, and my doctor (Dr. Waxman) to see if he can order an exercise test for me just so that we can chat while I ride the stationary bike.

After moving to Boston from Michigan to be actively listed on the heart/lung transplant list at BWH, Julie and I were able to hangout and chat outside of the doctor’s office (to learn more about me and to support my fight towards transplant, click here). Since we both love to exercise, we either hike or do yoga. Each time Julie is very patient with me as I have to stop and take many breaks to catch my breath.

It was awesome to hear that Julie not only rode the 200 mile Ohio RAAM challenge, but she rode it in record time! I knew that she had been training hard for many months for this race, and I was so excited for her and Team PHenomenal Hope when they finished.

Julie and I have become great friends thanks to the #LetMeBeYourLungs experience. I am truly grateful. I have told Julie that after I am transplanted we are going to be doing a lot of long distance road biking. We can both train together for a mountain bike race that happens every year back home in Michigan, the Iceman!

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