Daelyn James

Adversity: Cystic fibrosis

Advocacy: Inventor, supporter and speaker for chronically ill children

“I feel like the most rewarding thing I can do is to help young kids battling CF realize that, in spite of CF, you can tell yourself, ‘I can do something, I can be someone, I can go somewhere.’”

Daelyn James, 16, has lived with a cystic fibrosis since age 4. The disease and the related chronic medical challenges mean that, throughout her life, she has spent long periods of time in the hospital – often in two-week stints that require her to be in isolation.

At age 14, Daelyn met Gokul Krishnan, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University. Gokul had developed a program called Maker Therapy for chronically ill hospitalized kids that allowed them to become innovators and inventors. Thanks to Maker Therapy, Daelyn created a device that helps others battling cystic fibrosis clean their frequently used nebulizers. Today, Daelyn, A2A’s first teen advocate, is on the youth advisory board of Maker Therapy. She also works to lift the spirits of other children who are hospitalized, and she’s a frequent speaker at events that support children with chronic illnesses.

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