Battle for Breath: Charles City girl fights a terminal illness - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Battle for Breath: Charles City girl fights a terminal illness


CHARLES CITY (KWWL) -- When you meet Sydney Miller, you instantly fall in love with the seemingly typical pre-teen. She loves Bugs Bunny, the color blue, and is always brushing her hair. But every few minutes you'll hear her cough, and you're reminded this young woman is anything but typical.

"I have breathing treatments in the morning, and then I wait a couple hours and I take more medicine and I do another treatment, and then I wait even more hours and I take more medicine and I do another breathing treatment," she explained.

Sydney is fighting a war with her lungs. A few weeks before her second birthday, doctors diagnosed her with Cystic Fibrosis.

"CF for short," Sydney said. It's also known as a terminal illness.

"They give you deadlines, life expectancies, and then when she passes them, which she always does, you kind of forget," her mother, Jacqueline Shreve-Miller explained, "and then they give you another life expectancy. And you freak out all over again and have all the same emotions. And then she surpasses it again! She's a strong kid."

Now, at an amazing 12 years old, Sydney is planning her career as a lawyer, actress, and don't forget singer. But her health is reaching one of the lowest points of her life. At any given time, Sydney's lung capacity is only at about 30%.

Her doctors want to give her a new chance at life with a new set of lungs. Sydney and her mother will have to move to Missouri for three months before the operation, and recovery will take at least three months if not longer.

The transplant is not a cure. In fact, it could leave her with a heightened risk for cancer.

"There's a low chance of that happening. But I don't really want cancer. Because then I'd have Cystic Fibrosis and cancer. And then I would even have to do more and my hair would fall out," she said.

But if anyone can survive this battle, you have to believe it's Sydney.

"I think of it as a good side. Cause if I do this, I live longer," she explained.

"I don't even think she understands how big of a miracle she is, and how much she has brought to other peoples lives," her mother added.

On Sunday, family and friends are holding a benefit for Miller. Stop by Sherm's Place in Charles City for food, music, bean bag competitions, and a silent auction. It starts at noon and runs until at least five in the evening. Jacqueline said that, while her medical bills are unimaginable, the benefit is not about raising money. She wants her daughter to know how many people love and support her.

You can also help out Sydney Miller through the CUSB Bank in Charles City, where friends have set up an account in her name.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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