Cystic fibrosis sufferer, 26, travels the world despite her disease

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A 26-year-old woman with cystic fibrosis is traveling the world to prove that she is much stronger than she thought possible. 

Chelsea Spruance, from St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, has been battling the genetic disease that damages the lungs since she was an infant. 

At just 12 years old, she asked her parents and doctors what her life expectancy was.

When they avoided answering, she searched on her own and found that the average life expectancy of those with cystic fibrosis was only 26 years old.

Fearing she had lived half her life already, Spruance vowed to make her life as fulfilling as possible by traveling the world.

She has visited several countries throughout Europe and Central America and says that she wants to be a role model for others with cystic fibrosis to show that the disease doesn't mean that you have to be stuck indoors. 

Chelsea Spruance, 26, from St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at four months old. Pictured: Spruance breathing through an apparatus to supply oxygen and clear her airways

Chelsea Spruance, 26, from St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at four months old. Pictured: Spruance breathing through an apparatus to supply oxygen and clear her airways

Cystic fibrosis sufferers have a defective gene that causes a build-up of mucus in the airways and makes it increasingly difficult to breathe over time. Pictured: Spruance in Venice

At 12 years old, Spruance asked her parents and doctors what her life expectancy was. Pictured: Spruance in Paris

Cystic fibrosis sufferers have a defective gene that causes a build-up of mucus in the airways and makes it increasingly difficult to breathe over time. At 12 years old, Spruance asked her parents and doctors what her life expectancy was. Pictured: Spruance in Venice, left, and in Paris, right

Spruance says no ultrasounds or scans detected anything was wrong with her when her mother was pregnant and that she was born healthy.

However, within a few weeks it was apparent that something was wrong. Spruance was constantly fussy and unable to keep food down.  

'By four months old, I was still at my birth weight and the doctor told my parents that something was very wrong, he just didn't know what,' she said. 

'Finally, a sweat test was done, and it was discovered I had cystic fibrosis, much to everyone's surprise.' 

Sufferers have a defective gene that causes a build-up of mucus in the airways and makes it increasingly difficult to breathe over time.

Bacteria can become trapped, which can cause the lungs to become damaged or infected, and in some cases send the sufferer into respiratory failure, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Symptoms include persistent

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