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An Arkansan's quest to continue beating the odds with Cystic Fibrosis

Noel Mabry was 14 years old when doctors told her she wouldn't live past the age of 16, but now she's 32 years old and is being recognized for her work with the Arkansas Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Thousands of Americans are affected by cystic fibrosis. It's known as a lung disease, but can affect numerous parts of the body.

KATV’s Marine Glisovic spoke with an Arkansan who's sharing her story.

Noel Mabry was-14 years-old when doctors told her she wouldn't live past the age of 16, but now she's 32 years old and is being recognized for her work with the Arkansas Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Mabry is one of 31 young professionals that will be recognized at this year’s “Taste of the Finest” event organized by the Arkansas' CFF. Mabry is also the 2017 ambassador chosen by the foundation for this year's event.

Arkansas CFF’s Executive Director Melody Sugg tells KATV it's one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, but it wouldn't be possible without donations.

"Our families go through so much. They're so amazing, so resilient and they need to have this cure and support that we can offer today,” said Sugg.

30,000 Americans are living with CF, and 300 of them are in Arkansas. It's a genetic disease that causes lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.

When Mabry received a late diagnosis in her early teens, she fell into a depression.

"I did not want to do anything social. I didn't want to go to parties. I didn't want to go to anything. I really didn't want to be away from my parents,” she said. “I suddenly was aware of death and dying, so I knew the life expectancy at the time was 16-years-old and I was 14."

Mabry eventually overcame depression and chose to ignore the fact that she was different. Over the years, she learned how to do breathing treatments at home and cope with the symptoms including frequent lung infections, such as pneumonia, persistent coughing and shortness of breath.

‘"When I turned 16 and I wasn't at death's door, I thought, 'Ok maybe I’ve got this.' Then the life expectancy went up to 21, I made it to 21,” she said. “Then, it went up again to 30. I’m 32 now. Now it's 40,” said Mabry.

As Mabry inches closer to 40 years old, she's actively working with the Arkansas CFF.

“Of course, because it is something that I have, it is very very dear to me. My whole heart is in it. I've been trying to get donations and stuff like that personally and every time someone gives me a donation, I mean it, it literally brings tears to my eyes. It means a whole lot to me,” Mabry added.

Click here to help and donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Channel 7’s Marine Glisovic is also one of the 31 young professionals being honored on Friday for her work in the community and fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis.

KATV’s new Good Afternoon Arkansas Host, Elicia Dover, is emceeing the event.

If you’d like to attend Friday night’s event, you can purchase tickets at the door. The “Taste of the Finest” event is being held at the Statehouse Convention Center.

Tickets are $75 and it is cocktail attire.

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