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For people with cystic fibrosis, living longer raises questions about parenthood

By: Jessica McDiarmid News reporter, Thestar.com
Published on Mon May 12 2014

The first time they met nearly a decade ago, Erick Bauer and Stefanie Cali went at each other with knives.
Well, not quite.

Bauer and Cali had both enrolled in the Toronto police cadet training program, and were paired up in knife defence class.
“So we were faking trying to stab each other,” says Cali, laughing.

Not long afterward, they were dating.

In many ways, they are typical of a successful young couple. They both decided policing wasn’t for them and went on to earn undergraduate and later, graduate degrees. Bauer, 29, is nearly done a second master’s degree in business administration. He works in marketing; Cali, 31, is a behaviour analyst.

In August 2012, they were married. Now, they’re thinking kids. But there is an added layer to their conversations on whether to and when.

Bauer told Cali “on day one” that he had cystic fibrosis, a fatal, genetic disease that progresses over time, attacking the lungs and digestive system.

Fifty years ago, someone born with cystic fibrosis wasn’t expected to live long enough to go to school. Now, the median life expectancy in Canada is nearly 50 years old, giving rise to the challenges inherent in living with the disease while pursuing an education, jobs, and families. Nearly 4,000 people are living with the disease in Canada.

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