College of Pharmacy student committed to helping find a cure for cystic fibrosis
Ever since she was 12 years old, Michaela Myerson (Pharm.D., ’22) has made an annual trip to Washington, D.C., to lend her support for an issue close to her heart.
On February 27, she joined with more than 200 advocates to represent the cystic fibrosis (CF) community at the 14th annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation March on the Hill.
Michaela has two brothers who have CF. She and her family have dedicated their lives to helping to find a cure.
“I have watched my parents work every day to fundraise for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and spread awareness about CF to our friends and family,” she explained. “Each year I return to Capitol Hill to have important public policy discussions with senators and representatives from many of the New England states.”
CF is a genetic disorder that affects many of the vital organs, especially the lungs and pancreas. People with CF have a hard time breathing and digesting foods and have many other health complications. There is currently no cure for CF. The life expectancy for someone with CF is about 40 years.
People who live with CF use antibiotics more than the average person because they face frequent lung infections.
“I volunteer with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to encourage Congress to incentivize new antibiotic development,” Michaela said. “We fear we will run out of antibiotics to treat people living with CF. The drug development process can take over 10 years. We need to begin developing new antibiotics now, before it is too late.”
Michaela says her passion surrounding this cause helped lead her to UNE’s College of Pharmacy.
“Understanding how much health care public policy affects my family made me want to become a scientist,” she stated. “My family relies heavily on our specialty pharmacist to help us keep track of all the medications and therapies that my brothers use daily. The pharmacists who work with my family make everything a lot easier. Being surrounded by student pharmacists and other health professionals here at UNE while I am doing this work only emphasizes how incredible our healthcare professionals are here in the U.S.”
Despite the complications her two brothers face, Michaela says she and her family do their best to live normal lives.
“We are a family that holds a lot of hope,” she said. “My brothers are incredible people. They are both engineers and they have overcome so much in their lives. I am so proud of them and I am proud to be their sister.”