Lea slid into my DMs about two and a half years ago asking if I’d be willing to help her with a video she was making for Tiffany Rich’s transplant recovery. Lea’s best friend was in a dire situation and all she wanted to do was help. Little did I know that would be the start of an amazing friendship.
View this post on Instagram
✨Part 1 of 4✨|| The CF community is by far one of the most incredible communities I have ever encountered in my life. The support, understanding, & love we all have for one another is so incredibly special & I honestly feel honored to be apart of such an amazing group of people. The past few weeks have been extremely hard for Tiff. Getting a double lung transplant is definitely an exciting time bc it offers so many possibilities & a second chance at life. However the initial recovery process over the first few months to a year are extremely difficult & will be one of the hardest journeys one with CF will have to over come. The amount of support all of you have not only offered me during this process but have went above & beyond to give Tiff is absolutely amazing & I cannot thank you all enough 💜 — When Tiff saw this video so many of you contributed to she cried. Not because she was sad but because this is what she needed. She needed that extra reminder to keep fighting & that she is supported & loved by so many 😊 And I cannot thank you all enough for brightening this girls day & continuing to support her in this fight 💜👊🏼 — Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Being apart of this community is truly a blessing in & of itself. And you guys are the reason CF isn't such a bad thing to have in this life🌹 — Special shoutout to my girl @_catdog who spent so much of her time helping me put this together 💜 — I deeply apologize if you sent me a picture & it wasn't included. We thought we got all of them in there but we were so overwhelmed with the response we got to this. And for those of you who wanted to contribute & couldn't or would like to contribute please feel free to upload a picture or video of yourself with a positive message for Tiff with the #TiffGotLungs & be sure to tag @TiffRich22 & @SaltyCysters in the pic & we will repost some of our favorites on our page. ✨For the full video check out the link in our bio✨ — I hope everyone has the best weekend 💜💜 — ❌⭕️❌⭕️Lea
That was the kind of person she was. She dedicated her life to service so that others may live.
My heart is broken today after learning of Lea’s passing. She was a good person, in fact one of the best.
Lea was one of my best friends. Her (sometimes too) brutal honesty kept me level headed, and made sure my ego stayed in check. The stubbornness that all of us with CF have – a survival skill, if there ever was one – was one of Lea’s finest qualities. She wanted nothing more than the best for Tiffany, me, and every single person with CF, and was prepared to do everything in her power to make it happen. She brought the same grit and determination to every facet of life with the most absolutely inspiring passion and desire to succeed. I will forever cherish our weekly Breathe In Podcast Skype calls. Our preplanned half hour calls often turned into hours upon hours of talking about nothing in particular, rather just three friends separated and connected by something so few people will ever understand.
Her loyalty, wit and sassiness are what I am going to miss most, though. She never failed to put a smile on my face. On the show, she once proudly proclaimed that she was “a good catch,” and we all laughed at the time, but the more I think about, the more I realize how self-aware she was. Beneath the tough, chiseled façade, which all of us with CF show, was a truly humble young woman who desired a beautiful life.
Lea achieved that and so much more.
So few people can say they’ve actually changed the world, but Lea certainly did. She inspired so many thousands of people with her transparency in her fight with cystic fibrosis, and worked to erase some of the fear that came with a CF diagnosis to unsuspecting families.
Lea succeeded in creating a massive platform for people with cystic fibrosis to connect over a single common trait. She inspired me to push through some of my darkest days, and wouldn’t allow me to fall behind in my care.
I have, for a while now, asked myself, “What would Lea do?” whenever I reach a dead end. The answer is always the same, “go for it!”
Lea was constantly in motion. She did not believe in limitations and if there is a single thing that all of us can learn from her beautiful life, it’s that. Cystic fibrosis should not be seen as a limitation or deterrence from living to the absolute fullest.
I find myself fighting back tears as I aim to wrap this up, so I want to finish with this…
Lea was a good person. She was an amazing person, and she deserved so much more with a much longer life, but I know she would want the very best for all of us. She had so much joy in knowing about all of the amazing things that stand in front of our community. Lea was one of a kind, and the type person we should all strive to emulate. She loved her family, her friends and her life. Her wonderful smile will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Lea, I know I will see you again, but until then, may the air come easy and let the sun shine brightly on your spirit, your soul and your legacy. We all love you so very much.