Laura Napodi was born with the life threatening disease cystic fibrosis. Although this devastating disease required a regime of physiotherapy 3 to 4 times a day, 50 plus pills, and countless hospitalizations, she never let it take over her life. She would often say, "I have CF, and it doesn't have me!" With this type of spirit, Laura embraced life by always planning things with her friends (even when she was in the hospital), tap dancing, flute lessons, surfing, snowboarding, and shopping. There was nothing she wouldn't do from "riding the rails" on her snowboard to cliff jumping in Hawaii.
As the disease slowly took over her young life, she eventually needed a lung transplant. The news that she was not a candidate for a lung transplant in B.C. was difficult, however, after consultation with doctors, she was accepted as a transplant candidate at Toronto General. As Laura knew this was her only chance of survival, she decided to go ahead with it. Instead of one parent going with Laura and one parent staying with Laura's sister Caitie, they decided to stay together and, just before Christmas 2003, the family landed in Toronto. Although this was a very stressful period, Laura was as positive as she could be. She had difficulty breathing and was now using a wheelchair, but this did not stop her from shopping and seeing all the sights in Toronto.
In January 2004, Laura turned 20 and unfortunately had to spend this birthday in the hospital. At the end of her three-week hospital stay, her lung collapsed and they were desperately hoping for a lung transplant which was finally received after spending 3 weeks in the ICU. As Laura had to wait longer than expected, coupled with unforeseen complications, she did not survive the surgery.
How does a devastated family honour someone so special, someone so full of love, courage and spirit? The family agreed they wanted to create a legacy that would continue over time and support the things that were important to Laura and decided to set up a donor advised fund in Laura's name at the Vancity Community Foundation. Through this fund, Laura's family and friends can continue to support Cystic Fibrosis research as well as support something she loved, by providing Laura's high school with a Fine Arts Scholarship in her memory.