WPIAL recognizes Norwin grad Sydney Willig for courage in cystic fibrosis fight

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Saturday, June 18, 2022 | 8:47 PM


It takes courage to do what Sydney Willig does every day.

To wear a vibrating vest each morning. To use multiple nebulizers before classes. To constantly ingest medication.

When you have cystic fibrosis, it takes courage to do what is necessary to stay alive.

Willig wears the illness’ symbolic purple with pride because she has learned to manage CF with organization and determination.

The WPIAL took notice of the Norwin graduate’s story and made her its 2021-22 recipient of its annual Courage Award.

She was honored during the WPIAL Hall of Fame induction ceremony last month in Green Tree.

“This award represents me showing that I won’t let a disease define what I can and can’t achieve,” Willig said. “It shows others that have a disease that even though there are statistics out there and others telling you can’t do it, there’s others out there lifting you up and pushing you telling you can do it and giving you the opportunity to prove that you can do it.”

Willig has been dealing with the disease that causes mucus to fill her lungs and passageways since she was just a couple of weeks old.

The Geneva freshman soccer player, who plans to give the school’s new rugby program a try, also deals with CF diabetes.

She has had two reconstructive surgeries on her nose to open her nasal passage and has gone to physical therapy to learn breathing exercises.

Spreading awareness and helping others through hardship is just as important to Willig as improving her own health.

“To me this award just shows that I was able to overcome everything that was in my way fighting Cystic Fibrosis and that I’m still pushing to overcome it.” she said. “But with my teammates, I was able to, and to have them there to help push me to become better and to have the courage to push myself is why I was able to win this award.”

Willig said she recently started a new medication to treat micro bacteria in her body. She said she is waiting for FDA approval for another medication.

As for the rugby venture, “I am hopeful to start playing next spring … That will be super fun.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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