Autumn's 65 Roses

Meet Autumn, my step-daughter. I've written about her before, conversations we've had, games we've played, family outings; you know, typical stuff one writes about family. I'm fairly certain I've even mentioned a time or two that she lives with cystic fibrosis. To look at her, to even know her, you wouldn't imagine there's a single thing wrong with her, except for putting ketchup on hot dogs, eggs, and all manner of things where ketchup essentially becomes the only thing you can taste. That's not a symptom of cystic fibrosis (CF), she's just weird, but I try not to let that bother me (it totally does and I make fun of her for it at every turn, like a good dad should). No, to the world around her, Autumn is perfectly healthy, happy, and carefree. But the fact remains, she is living with CF. The only thing you might notice different about her is a persistent cough that doesn't sound much different than someone dealing with chronic allergies.

She's a junior in high school and making fantastic grades, even with three AP classes. She's signed up for the ACT, SAT, and this school year's round of AP testing whose which grades are reported to the college of her choosing. Pending a good grade on the ACT she will be taking college credit classes for her senior year of high school—get some of that 13th & 14th-grade bs Associates degree crap out of the way.

She also just turned 18, and with that, I started the process to perform an adult-adoption (by which her biological father does not need to be involved in the process, thus making it smoother for all of us). I'm adopted and I credit my dad with a lot of the stability I have in my life. Where I might not be so good with money, I own my responsibilities and mistakes, and I owe that to my dad. I hope over these last 12 years that Autumn has been in my life that I have instilled and imparted healthy wisdom onto her, paying it forward as it were. Soon, Autumn will be rightfully my daughter in the eyes of the law, and as the attorney we spoke with put it, this is just the law catching up to what our family has known all this time anyway.

With that bond will come her right to lay claim to any inheritance I might leave her; paltry if I died tomorrow, potentially a legacy if the fates deemed me so worthy in the future.

Here's where you can help me reach that legacy, help ensure a lucrative future for her, but also do something that does not directly benefit me or her, but instead, does something to ensure that people like her, those living with CF, continue to get much needed help. For the next two weeks (so, 3/19/17-4/2/17), in celebration of Autumn's 18th birthday and my pending adoption of her, I will donate any and all proceeds from the sale of any of my stories—digital, print, and/or audio—to our local pharmacy that caters directly to those with cystic fibrosis, CF Solutions, in Tulsa.

Shameless self-promotion clothed in charity? You bet! But you can get some horror in your eyeballs, ear holes, or even right in your hands, for not too much and I'll give my cut to CF Solutions—full-stop. If you like what you read and share it around? Fantastic, you're helping me to support my craft, an art, and my family, but for the next two weeks, you'll be supporting a pharmacy that makes sure people who might not be able to afford medication and tools for their needs get those things at little-to-no cost. For 19 years this place has had its doors open with the express intent of helping those who live with, and sometimes suffer through, cystic fibrosis.

Want to cut out the middleman and support research into CF directly? Consider making a donation to the CF Foundation and help kids make cystic fibrosis seem more like 65 roses. But I do hope you buy something from me...you might like it! You'll be entertaining yourself, helping me and my daughter, and a whole lot of families continue to get the essential care they need to battle this disorder.

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