-- At just 18 months old, Elizabeth Shea was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. It can make catching the common cold life-threatening.
Shea’s mother, Marissa Shea, says her now-17-year-old daughter counts every morning as a blessing.
The teen’s regimen includes taking 12 pills with every meal, plus using inhalers and getting regular respiratory treatments.
“I don’t remember never having to take medicine,” Shea said in an interview with “Good Morning America.”
When Shea was in the 6th grade she discovered a passion that has helped her in many ways.
She took up playing the flute, and, now a high school senior at Western High School in Davie, Florida, she plays in the marching band. “The doctors have told me that playing a wind instrument helps keep the lungs working,” she said.
Shea’s talent landed her a spot to play in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, but there’s one thing that she wanted: a top-of-the-line flute.
“It would be kind of hard for my parents to … get the flute for me,” she said.
Make-a-Wish and Macy’s teamed up to fulfill Shea’s dream. She got her flute just in time for her trip to play in the parade.
“Thank you!” she said. “Thank you Make a Wish! Thank you Macy's!”
This is the seventh year that Macy's and Make-A-Wish have teamed up for the Believe Campaign to spread holiday cheer to children with life-threatening medical conditions.