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Valley teen bringing awareness to cystic fibrosis

Posted at 10:27 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 01:27:28-04

ASU freshman Connor Paola is riding through the obstacles of life, leaving a mark along his route.

"Try to be the best person you can be. Wake up today or tomorrow and be a better person than you were," says Connor.

Connor was diagnosed at nine months old with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system. Now, at 18 years old, Connor has accomplished more than he could have ever imagined - triathlons, mountain biking and an ambassador with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since a very young age.

"I was at a CF fundraiser once and another person with CF said this to me and it stuck to me ever since. They said, 'you're my inspiration.' Hearing that, from someone who knows what I've been through, kind of deal... it was impactful," says Connor.

That is also his inspiration to keep fighting for the search for a cure, more research and treatment. He even spoke with Arizona Representative David Schweikert last year about the PASTEUR Act.

"Would hopefully help with antibiotic resistance... which isn't just a problem for people with CF, it's a problem with people all across the country," says Connor.

Connor takes about 12 pills a day and spends more than two hours doing lung treatments to help with breathing. It plays a physical and emotional toll but, isn't stopping Connor from succeeding. He is currently in the running for a big scholarship.

"You know, it's kind of just the constant perseverance or whatever. It's just constantly thinking, maybe today will be different," says Connor.

If he gets the money, Connor says he will use it to fund his career path. He wants to get into law, one day becoming a public defender.