Five Feet Apart, a movie based on The New York Times best-selling book was released on March 15, highlighting the story of a 17-year-old girl who spends most of her time in the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. Both the movie and the book portray the challenges that the character faces every day to maintain her health and stay within a five-foot distance of those with colds and infection, as well as her romantic crush who also has the disease.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. The chronic disease is caused by a mucus build up that clogs the patient's airways and traps germs and bacteria, leading to infections, inflammation, respiratory failure and other complications. Because of this, patients with CF must minimize their contact with germs and be aware of weather conditions.
Hailey Miller is a 17-year-old Glendale resident who was diagnosed at age two with CF. She receives care at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center multiple times a year to clear out her airways and take antibiotics to fight infection.
"I read the book on this story and I'm happy that people are bringing accurate awareness to the disease and sharing stories of those impacted," said Miller. "This is a great opportunity for people to learn what CF is and support people living with the disease."
Because of her diagnosis, Miller checks on air quality and weather conditions, informs her classmates and friends of her limitations and maintains a healthy lifestyle so she can minimize her hospital stays.
"You get used to it after a while; I was diagnosed at age two. But all of my friends and classmates are really respective to the activities that I am limited to," said Miller.
Dr. Gregory Legris, pediatric pulmonologist at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center, shares in this taped interview what CF is, how it impacts patients daily and other general information about the chronic disease.
“Cystic fibrosis affects 1 in 3,000 Americans," said Dr. Legris. "Many do not realize that patients with cystic fibrosis have to be on high alert of the air quality and weather before completing day-to-day tasks.”
Interview with Hailey and Dr. Legris can be downloaded at this link.