It’s incredible to see the outpouring of support for the Smith Family and be here today with all of you to celebrate our dear friend, Mallory. Mal and I first met when we were five years old and played on the Purple Ponies soccer team. I remember Mallory got to play on two soccer teams that year, our purple team and a yellow team. I asked my mom why this was, and my mom told me that Mallory was very special and needed to do more exercise to keep healthy. I didn’t think much of it then, and years passed until we would be teammates again in high school. That was when our friendship blossomed, from playing volleyball together. We would spend hours hanging out both on and off of the court, eating copious amounts of food -- my favorite times were spent eating Diane’s salads and baked goods in the Smith kitchen. We also laughed at the silliest things and had fun doing both everything and nothing. We stayed in close contact after high school when we both went to college in Northern California, and our friendship since endured times of health and sickness, boyfriend ups and downs, more volleyball, an amazing trip to Hawaii, telling funny stories and having conversations about life in a few different hospitals, and a shared interest in making a difference for the CF community.
One of Mal’s qualities that never went unnoticed for me was that she cared so deeply for those around her. Mal valiantly fought her battle with CF, and with her family raised millions of dollars to support research for the rare bacteria she acquired. But Mal’s vision was bigger than raising money to just help herself. As she inched closer to needing a double lung transplant, she aspired to use her community to help raise money to fund organ rejection research, which would benefit the entire CF community. Bo and I wanted to help her in any way we could, and when the Smiths made the move to Pittsburgh after Mallory was finally listed for transplant, #Lunges4Lungs was born.
In the last three months, we’ve done a lot of lunges, spread awareness about CF and organ rejection, and raised over $84,000 to fund research. It breaks my heart that Mallory isn’t here today to lunge with us, laugh with us, and celebrate the profound impact she had on all of us. When I was with her in Pittsburgh last week, she was so happy to see so many of her friends visiting her, and as we talked about future plans to go back to Hawaii, hang out, eat, and do the same things we always did, she put her hand on her heart and crossed her fingers that it would happen soon.
In one of her blog posts, Mal wrote “Give back what we’ve taken by paying it forward, save a life, smile at a stranger, climb a mountain leaving nothing behind but footprints, inspire a child, take care of your body, bring happiness through laughter, plant a tree, and sometimes, just breath and exhale a little bit of calming energy to your environment. Give back in whatever small way you can, any time you can, because we are not small. No one of us can do everything, but all of us can do anything. Do it because we have survived, and that is a miracle. Do it because why wouldn’t you. Do it to justify your life.”
Mal, Bo and I promise to keep giving back through Lunges4Lungs, and in whatever ways we can. You were right, we are not small. This community here today of people that YOU brought together is not small. Thank you for being an amazing friend-- so intelligent, caring, giving, curious, and loving. Your spirit is with me everywhere I go, and I plan on always bringing a lil bit of Mal to everything I do.