INTERVIEW: Ella Balasa & Cystic Fibrosis
Ella Balasa is a patient advocate and a person living with cystic fibrosis. Diagnosed at 18 months old, cystic fibrosis (or “CF”) is a life-limiting, invisible, chronic, and rare lung disease. Since early childhood, Ella has had countless hospitalizations to receive intravenous antibiotics to treat the lung infections that are the hallmark of the disease.
These infections deteriorate the lung tissue over time, reducing function, and ultimately leading to failure requiring a double lung transplant to prolong life. Her disease is becoming visible as she requires using supplemental oxygen with physical activity. But despite having 28% lung function, she’s never let it be her excuse.
With an academic background in biology, Ella is an advocate for the development of novel therapies for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections. She has spoken publicly about the value of patient voice in research as well as her experience with phage therapy as a previous speaker at the FDA, the Milken Institute's Future of Health Summit, and other conferences.
She is deeply involved in the CF community through being a director of the US Adult CF Association, serving as a member of research committees for the CF Foundation, and through her passion for writing.
Ella writes about her research experiences and introspectively about the hardships, yet triumph that comes with living with a chronic illness. Through these opportunities, she provides a scientific voice and hopes to encourage empowerment in patient communities.
In her free time, Ella enjoys cooking, drawing, spending time with friends, and traveling when she can.
To learn more about her work and experiences visit, www.ellabalasa.com.
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