By Lori Maystrovich
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Pepsi Hutton, the kinesiology instructor at Penn State New Kensington, is currently serving her third year on campus.
Hutton maintains a very positive attitude and is strong in showing her belief in physical fitness as a priority. What many may not know is that Hutton suffers from cystic fibrosis. As an infant she was diagnosed with the disease, and she has spent all of her life dealing with it.
Cystic fibrosis affects approximately 35,000 children and adults in the United States. Another 10 million, or one in 31 people, are carriers of the disease.
According to www.cff.org, “Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that causes mucus to build up and clog some of the organs in the body, particularly the lungs and pancreas. When mucus clogs the lungs, it can make breathing very difficult. The thick mucus also causes bacteria (or germs) to get stuck in the airways, which causes inflammation (or swelling) and infections that lead to lung damage.”
At an early age Hutton realized that being more fit helped her with her breathing and ways of managing her cystic fibrosis. She says she has always felt much better physically when she’s more fit; when she swam and exercised she could breathe much easier.
Despite the magnitude of the effects of cystic fibrosis on individuals, Hutton’s family, especially her mother Teresa Hutton, have encouraged her to live life as normally as possible.
Hutton stated that her job at Penn State New Kensington really aids her. “Coming to Penn State has really helped me get back into focusing on my health and taking care of myself,” she stated. “I want to be active and practice what I am preaching to others.”
Hutton has to strictly maintain her health day by day. She takes treatments twice a day, eats healthy foods and exercises to ensure her wellbeing. She plans to stay healthy, become involved in competitive swimming, marry and adopt a baby in the future.
Hutton is excited about all that is happening in the discoveries and treatments of cystic fibrosis. “The research is amazing and they are testing for a cure,” she proclaimed.
The Turkey Trot on campus benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Hutton said that she is excited about the event. Her first year running the event was in 2009, and she enlarged the Turkey Trot that year by having it on Saturday and including the surrounding community as well.