COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- Aaron Porter is almost ready for another IRONMAN. He'll be the first to tell you he cannot wait until it's over. Yet he continues to compete. The reason? He wants to better understand his daughter's battle with Cystic Fibrosis.
Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease. The average life expectancy of someone with Cystic Fibrosis is around 37-years-old, a number that's risen substantially in recent years.
Josie Porter was born with CF five years ago.
“I thought my daughter was going to die,” Josie's mom, Angie, said.
Five years later Josie shows no symptoms, but her life is hardly typical. She takes more than 20 pills each day, and spends more than an hour in a percussion vest. The vest shakes loose the mucus in her lungs. If they don't get it out, that mucus could cause an infection that could take 10 years off Josie's life overnight, or worse.
“That's our number one priority,” Aaron Porter said. “Keeping her healthy.”
Yet, despite her battle, Josie is so full of life.
“She's a trooper,” Porter said. “She's done so much for our family, it's unreal.”
So this loving father decided to do something for her; his own test of strength and resolve. He decided to become an IRONMAN for Josie.
“You really do have to push your body to the limit,” he said. “You have to use all your lungs. And that does make me feel like I'm fighting alongside Josie.”
Last year Porter conquered his first IRONMAN with Josie waiting at the finish line. This year he expects she'll be waiting once again.
Josie is also training for her own IRONMAN – the one-mile kids IRONMAN held every year in Coeur d'Alene. Her lungs may not always allow her to race, but the IRONMAN has given this family hope.
“I never thought I could do this,” Porter said. “I have absolute faith anything is possible with Josie too.”
Even if Josie's finish line lies hidden so far away.