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Guest Interviews

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Emily Schreiber

2203 2020-04-22

Emily Schreiber (ES) was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of nine, and rather than retreating, she threw her heart and mind into making a positive difference. Her original goal of raising $3,000 for cystic fibrosis (CF) research quickly exceeded that amount and today she has raised over $600,000. Emily has made it her passion to swim laps to raise money and awareness for CF and she continues to hold fundraisers to support its research. Robert A. Schuller (RAS) interviews Emily.


It is with great pleasure and admiration that I introduce our guest today. She has been featured on the Today Show, Fox News and ABC. Her story has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids and the American Girl magazine.

At the age of nine, Emily Schreiber was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and rather than retreating, she threw her heart and mind into making a positive difference. Her original goal was to raise three thousand dollars for CF research, but after exceeding that by $57,000, she made it her passion to swim laps to raise money for the illness. To date, she has raised over $600,000 for the disease and continues to hold fundraisers to support research.

Today, nearly one hundred thousand people around the world live with CF and suffer from its debilitating symptoms. Emily swims against the odds and is fueled by her faith in Jesus Christ and His power for her life.

Please welcome to the Crystal Cathedral this amazing young woman. Emily, God loves you and so do we. Welcome to the Cathedral.

ES: Thank you.

RAS: So you have cystic fibrosis?

ES: Yes.

RAS: What is that because you look like the epitome of health?

ES: Well cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes the chlorine gene to be defected so the salt and water can’t move around your body the right way. This can cause lung infections and digestion problems.

RAS: So what kind of symptoms do you have?

ES: Well it really varies from patient to patient. Usually it’s just digestion problems and there will be lung problems, which can lead to lung infections and sometimes lung transplants and routine hospital visits.

RAS: Now how did you get in to swimming?

ES: I really enjoyed it so I joined a swim team. I’m not like the best on my team or anything; I just do it for fun.

RAS: Well you’ve got to be pretty good because you’ve raised a lot of money swimming, haven’t you?

ES: Yes, we’ve raised so much money. Like you said, our original goal was only $3,000 and it has really grown with the help of so many people. My family and my friends, people in Alabama and at Auburn University have all helped to make a difference. So many places and people have helped us.

RAS: So how do you raise the money?

ES: Well, we have swim-a-thons and we also, with the help of the Boomer Esiason Foundation, are going to take these events all across the country. So we’re really excited about that.

RAS: Do you know anything that’s taking place in the research of cystic fibrosis?

ES: There is so much going on. There are different medicines and things that make the disease more manageable. People can take anywhere from twenty to forty pills a day. They also have lung treatments at least once every day. So I think if you could just compact it that would be huge.

We’re also giving some of the money, not only to research, but to care clinics and people who can’t pay for all their medicines. That helped us to create the laps for cystic fibrosis foundation. So it’s been really exciting.

RAS: So did you start the foundation yourself or with the help of some friends?

ES: It started with the help of my parents and my brothers, Scott and William. Everyone in our community and all over has been really supportive. It’s just really grown before our very eyes.

RAS: What are some of your goals?

ES: I would love to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. I also just love to help people. That’s really my favorite thing. You know in the hospital in Alabama right now there are like 15 people doing cystic fibrosis treatments. So if I could just help them, then that’s what I really want to do.

RAS:You want to help people who are hurting, and there’s no question you can do that and you are doing it. In fact, you’re doing a really good job of it.

ES: Thank you.

RAS: You have a faith in Jesus Christ, don’t you?

ES: Oh yes. Jesus has really helped me through this. And I know that there is really a silver lining to the cloud of CF because I’ve gotten to meet all kinds of people and I think really make a difference. I don’t think I could say it better than my favorite Bible verse: “if you have faith as a small as a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for you.” I just love that.

RAS: It’s a great verse, isn’t it? It shows what faith can do if we’ll just put out a little bit of faith, not a lot, because the mustard seed is pretty small. So that’s all the faith you have to have is the faith of a grain of mustard seed and you can tell your mountains to move and they’re moved. Well Emily, you’ve been doing that.

ES: Thank you.

RAS: And the mountains are moving. You’ve raised $600,000! Do you think you’ll raise some more?

ES: Well, my dad told me the other day that we’ve gotten almost up to $700,000 so every day it’s getting bigger and bigger. And like I said, my family helps me so much. In fact my brothers Scott and Will made a website, lapsforcf.org. Everyone has helped us so much and I just don’t think I could put my appreciation into words.

RAS: Well Emily, we want to thank you for your sincere faith and love in Jesus Christ, and for having the ability to just go out there and make a difference in people’s lives by raising some money. I’d like to close in a prayer for you, because we know that God’s going to do a wonderful thing for you and help you with your cystic fibrosis.

Dear Heavenly Father, we pray for Emily and for every single person who’s fighting with CF today. Just keep them strong, keep them healthy, and eliminate their symptoms. May they continue to live a life full of Your peace and Your goodness, amen.

ES: Thank you.

RAS: God bless you, Emily.

ES: Thank you.

RAS: God loves you and so do we.


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