SUD OGDEN – Kara Fierro says she was born with a premature death date, and is not expected to live beyond 10 years due to cystic fibrosis.
But Fierro surpassed that prediction and racked up a lifetime of activity in his 36 years.
Fierro and her husband, Isaac Eaves, backpacked across Europe twice, walked to the end of Angel’s Landing while Fierro broke his ankle and ziplined the jungle. The couple have traveled the world and walked almost every continent. They swam with whale sharks and were once the big winners of the game show “The Price Is Right”.
“I did all of this carrying all of my medical equipment and medications with me,” Fierro said. “I’ve been in music videos, in magazines, on the cover of a novel. I became an athletic pole dancer and an outfielder. I graduated with honors in nursing and worked for two years in a rehabilitation clinic and five years in the wound and hyperbaric clinic at McKay-Dee Hospital.
Fierro even took her pole dance gear to the hospital so she could work out and exercise.
In a “legacy” letter she recently wrote and posted on social media, Fierro said she always knew the notion of “someday” didn’t exist for her, but rather settling down and becoming depressed as her life could be shortened due to her illness, she decided to live her life to the fullest. After all, she said, what’s the point of being alive if you’re not alive?
“You will always find an excuse not to do something or to postpone something,” she wrote. “What I’m asking is that you do everything in your power to overcome this apology. Don’t let these excuses rule your life. … Live as if tomorrow never existed.
Fierro, from South Ogden, is currently at the University of Utah Hospital in hospice care and may soon be transferred to a hospice. One of her three dogs, Captain Jack, was allowed to stay with her in her hospital room.
“My lung function is declining rapidly. It was 29% in June and just four days ago it had fallen to 25%, ”said Fierro. “It’s very tiring to struggle for every breath you take. I take more than 50 pills a day to continue.
Fierro is expected to meet with a transplant team soon. She was once refused to be put on the list because they felt she did not have the determination to continue fighting.
Then, she said, she received a tremendous amount of love and support from her social media post and it made her realize that she wanted to keep working on her bucket list.
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects the cells that produce digestive juices, sweat, and mucus. Usually thin and slippery, cystic fibrosis makes these secretions thick and sticky, clogging the airways and ducts and making it difficult to breathe.
“The best way I can describe it is it’s like breathing through a straw,” Fierro said. “I have been to the hospital more times than I can count. In fact, this is the fifth time I have been here since January and have been on antibiotics my entire life. Due to the pills I have to take, I am more prone to kidney and liver failure. It is a very nasty disease and can affect many of your major organs, but I am determined to keep fighting like a warrior.
Fierro’s grandparents, Ken and Belinda Fierro, who raised her, said their granddaughter was an inspiration to them and many others in the community.
“The day we had Kara was one of the happiest days of my life,” said Belinda Fierro. “I always felt like she had angel wings. It was my angel who taught me so much about life. She is a fighter and has pushed herself to her limits. isn’t a coward. I look at her now and think, ‘She hasn’t finished yet.’ “
Kara Fierro said she hopes to qualify this time for a double lung transplant.
“I’ve fought so hard and for so long and come such a long way that I decided I wanted to keep my to-do list,” she said. “I am a warrior; but if I die, I am at peace with it. I will regard it as merciful and also as the beginning of a new chapter.