The podcasts sharing CF stories

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Our latest edition of ‘CF Life’ magazine featured William Marler, who is one of several podcasters sharing the everyday experiences of people living with cystic fibrosis. We spoke to William and a fellow podcaster, Tiff, about why they got into podcasting and the importance of providing a voice to the CF community.

Over the last few years, a handful podcasts have emerged exploring everyday life with cystic fibrosis. Not only do they share the personal stories of those living with CF - from the ordinary to the extraordinary - but they also raise the profile of CF more widely.

Through video and audio recordings, these podcasts share a broad variety of individual experiences from contributors across the globe. 

William Marler is an animator, stand-up comedian and podcaster. He also has cystic fibrosis. In 2016, William began work on a podcast detailing day-to-day life with CF, and at last year’s UK CF Conference ‘Straight from the Lungs’ was officially launched. William strives to represent real and varied stories from the CF community, and explains that this is a key part of the podcast. 

The full uncut ‘Extra Breaths’ show about William’s motivation for ‘Straight from the Lungs’ can be found here

Straight from the Lungs podcast artwork

Since the launch of the podcast last September, the response has been incredibly positive. The first four episodes delve into areas such as diagnosis, treatment and school, through Skype discussions with people of different ages and backgrounds.  

We meet Ben, whose CF drove him towards body-building; Martine, whose teenage daughter ran away from home after rebelling against her treatment; and Jerry, who feels his lifestyle means he’s still going strong at 61.  

After a brief spell away, ‘Straight from the Lungs’ is back this April with a new set of episodes covering topics such as university, work, hospital and love.  

“There are amazing stories and amazing ideas that I’m so excited to share,” William told us. 

The first of the episodes, about university life with cystic fibrosis, is out now.

Across the pond, ‘Breathe In: A Cystic Fibrosis Podcast’ provides a weekly show for the CF community in the United States.  

The podcast began as a collaboration between best friends Lea Faraone and Tiff Rich (aka the “Salty Cysters”), and Gunnar Esiason of the Boomer Esiason Foundation, all of whom live with cystic fibrosis. 

Tiff and Lea initially met through Instagram and became close friends in 2016 after both were told they would require lung transplants. The pair started raising awareness of CF and funds for research soon afterwards, and Salty Cysters was born. Gunnar approached Tiff and Lea to create ‘Breathe In…’ the following year. 

Tiff told us what she’s gained from her experience working on ‘Breathe In…’:  

With over 70 episodes and counting, the podcast shares the experiences of those living with CF and other chronic diseases. The show, which Esiason described as “the late night talk show of the CF world”, covers a diverse range of topics such as transplant, dating, and travel. 

Lea sadly died in December 2018. Her friends and co-hosts Tiff and Gunnar dedicated the following show to celebrating Lea’s life. The podcast continues what Salty Cysters started; providing an outlet for the CF community in the US, while raising awareness and understanding of cystic fibrosis. 

All episodes of ‘Straight from the Lungs’ and ‘Breathe In…’ are available on iTunes and Castbox. You can also read our interview with William in the latest edition of CF Life magazine

Image credit: 'Straight from the Lungs' artwork by Vicky Neville

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