“This post was sponsored by Walgreens Cystic Fibrosis Services as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my post.”

It sometimes seems that so many people shy away from talking about their chronic illness for fear of rejection. Luckily, this isn’t the case with my friend Kim, she really doesn’t care what people think.

We met at a book signing for our favorite author and immediately bonded over our mutual fangirling. We stayed after the signing and got coffee to chat about the new book and the previous books in the series.

Yes, we’re both kind of closet nerds.

Anyway, we were each telling the other a little about ourselves and she casually mentioned that she had Cystic Fibrosis and read a lot. She said that’s how she’d stumbled upon the series. I didn’t really make a point of the mention of the disease back to her because, although I’d heard of it, I didn’t really know much about it.

Kim and I really hit it off that night and we ended up becoming great friends over the last few years. Although she is so much more than her chronic illness, she’s always been super patient answering my questions, when I have them, and reminding me that there are certain activities that she’s not comfortable doing.

During my research online about Cystic Fibrosis, it’s become pretty clear that CF affects each individual differently and the symptoms/severity can vary widely from person to person. It primarily affects the respiratory and digestive systems as well as presents a heightened risk of infection. I had to pull my info from so many different medical websites.

I’m so happy to be partnering with CF Champions “Navigating The Journey Together” program from Walgreens to help bring you stories of some of the fabulous people out there living with Cystic Fibrosis. Check out the program here.

I’ve learned so much from Kim over the duration of our friendship so far. One of the most impactful things has been how to be a good friend to someone living with a chronic illness like CF.

It sometimes seems that so many people shy away from talking about their chronic illness for fear of rejection. Luckily, this wasn't the case with my friend Kim, she really doesn't care what people think.

4 Ways to Be a Better Friend to Someone With a Chronic Illness:

1. Be honest and ask questions when you have them. I noticed she seemed to be wheezing a lot during a lunch date and asked her straight out if she’d been doing her breathing treatments like she was supposed to. Nope. You bet I waggled my finger at her.

2. Be considerate and flexible as the situation warrants it. We don’t go hiking or jogging obviously, not that I would jog anyway, but there are plenty of things that we do together as friends. Sometimes plans change if a restaurant is packed for lunch or looks germy. We’ll easily go somewhere else rather than put her in a situation where there’s an increased risk of infection.

3. Be cognizant of your own hygiene and health. Since we’ve become close, I’m more careful to wash my hands more thoroughly and keep to myself if I’m feeling at all sickish. I couldn’t imagine accidentally getting her sick through cross-contamination.

4. Don’t let the chronic illness become the center of your friendship. It can be so easy to let it take over but make a concerted effort to talk about other things than the illness. Sometimes Kim just doesn’t even want to mention it when I ask her how her day’s going and that’s ok.

Do you know someone with a chronic illness? How do you become a better friend when she is struggling?