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‘Feisty as anything’: Cystic fibrosis advocate Jessica Forsyth, 25, succumbs to disease

MARIE-DANIELLE SMITH
Ottawa Citizen

Published on: July 21, 2014

Jessica Forsyth’s courage rubbed off on everyone who met her.

“She was so tiny yet I’ve seen marines not as strong as this little lady,” said one of her best friends, Kelsey Lett. “I’ve seen people in the army 10 times her size not as strong as this girl.”

But after fighting for weeks, Forsyth died, at age 25, early Saturday morning of complications from cystic fibrosis.

Forsyth acted as a spokeswoman for the Ottawa chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, telling people about what it was like to live with the condition. She spoke at several of the Ottawa Senators-sponsored 65 Roses fundraising galas and helped create public service announcements for radio.

Before she turned 18, Forsyth was a CHEO Champion for the disease, helping to raise awareness and research funding. She had spent much of her early life in and out of the children’s hospital.

Lett has the same genetic disease. She and Forsyth knew each other for a decade. They would be admitted to hospital together and give each other advice. They recently said goodbye to another “cyster,” who succumbed to the same disease while waiting for a lung transplant two months ago.

“She knew exactly what I was going through, more than my friends, more than my family,” said Lett. “But she was sick, and her heart just got tired. Tired of being strong for everybody.”

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