BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sammi Blum’s fight against cystic fibrosis has forced the local 17-year-old to celebrate most of her birthdays in the hospital.
That’s why, when she turns 18 in two weeks, Sammi wants out. And she wants to party.
“It’s not easy,” Blum said. “Not easy at all.”
Life hasn’t been easy for the Cheektowaga teen. But although her lungs work with less than a third of the capacity they should, Sammi has the heart of a fighter.
“She’s probably always been one of the strongest people I know. Most CF’ers are,” said Blum’s mother, Cathy Curry. “They fight. They’re born fighters. But inside, once you get past that hard shell, she’s a little kid. Who wants just what everybody else wants. She wants friends, she wants to be out of the hospital and have a normal life.”
She was too sick to talk to News4 in person for fear of infection.
“It’s not really something you can change, so you might as well just take care of it as best you can, try to stay healthy,” Blum said.
Blum’s world has been split between stints at home and stints in the hospital, recovering when her lung function drops to the point of suffocation. She recently spent nearly three months at home.
But most of her monthly hospital stays last between 10 and 14 days.
For a young woman who appreciates freedom, bed rest and breathing machines is unbearable at times.
“It is absolutely terrible. Oh my God. It is horrible,” she said. “I like being able to go for walks and get up and move, but in here you’re basically in isloation. So I basically sit in bed all day.”
Blum hasn’t experienced many birthdays outside the hospital. That’s why Sept. 2 is so special. She hopes to be out, and she hopes to be celebrating.
“I just think it would be fun to have all my friends in one place,” she said. “And celebrate 18 years of life. Hey, I made it this far. It’s a celebration.”
That’s more than she can say about some of her close friends.
“She’s lost more friends by the age of 17 than most people who are 70,” Curry said.
((It’s something that no child should ever have to go through the funeral of a friend. ))
Cathy is organizing a party for her daughter. But in Sammi’s eyes, the party isn’t just for her.
“I’ve lost a lot of friends before the age of 18, so it’s kind of like celebrating for them,” she said.
If you’d like to help Sammi celebrate her 18th birthday, visit the group’s Facebook page to learn how.