Naperville boy with cystic fibrosis excels at triathlon
BY MITCH DUDEK AND TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporters August 24, 2013 12:59AM
Colin Walsh with dad Chris and mom Trisha. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times
Updated: September 26, 2013 6:54AM
Ten-year-old Colin Walsh knew he nailed it Saturday.
“Oh my God, afterwards he just kept saying ‘I did good, I did good,’” said his mom, Trisha Walsh.
The Walsh family traveled from their home in west suburban Naperville to Montrose beach to watch Colin compete in the kids portion of the Life Time Triathlon. Colin swam 100 meters, biked 4 kilometers and ran 1 kilometer, placing an impressive 68 out of 500 overall.
He did it in under 24 minutes, and Colin added another medal to the several he has already from finishing other races.
They didn’t come easy.
Colin has cystic fibrosis and averages about 80 to 90 percent lung function.
Not that it’s slowing him down.
About 15 family members came out to watch Colin but he was so quick they missed his transition to running.
“By the time we got back, he was almost done. He did it so fast,” his mother said. “We were so impressed. And he was very proud of himself.”
Colin has to swallow a cocktail of pills every morning, breathe in a medicinal powder through a nebulizer and wear a vibrating vest that shakes the mucus off his lungs.
For someone who has the degenerative lung disease, median life expectancy was 31 in 2003 when Colin was born but since then it has increased to 38.
The key to living longer and healthier is finding an exercise program that Colin enjoys — hence, the triathlon training.
Colin has a straightforward answer when asked if having cystic fibrosis makes it harder for him to compete.
“No,” he says.