Twin battles cystic fibrosis with smiles, laughs

Fundraiser for CF will be held at the Old School House in Newberg this Saturday

Vivian Rimrodt, 2, in her Newberg home, May 10, 2017 (KOIN)
Vivian Rimrodt, 2, in her Newberg home, May 10, 2017 (KOIN)

NEWBERG, Ore. (KOIN) — Christy Rimrodt’s 2-year-old daughter Vivian is her “sassiest” of 3 children. “She’s very outgoing, she’s very playful, very stubborn,” laughed  Christy, a children’s photographer with a studio in Lake Oswego.

Vivian Rimrodt in an undated photo provided by Christy Rimrodt, May 10, 2017
Vivian Rimrodt in an undated photo provided by Christy Rimrodt, May 10, 2017

Vivian and her twin brother, Graeme, were born New Year’s Day 2015. But within a week, her parents knew something wasn’t right. She was very tiny — only 4.5 pounds — and Christy said Vivian wasn’t taking her food.

They went back to the hospital and tests determined Vivian has cystic fibrosis.

“We knew before the twins were born that I was a carrier for CF and my husband was a carrier as well,” Christy told KOIN 6 News. “We knew before the twins were born that they had a 1-in-4 chance of having CF.”

About Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.

She said it was both scary and a relief to learn what Vivian had because then they knew how they could help her.

Still, the reality took a while to set in.

“It wasn’t until about 6 months later that I think I, as a mom, actually processed it,” she said. “This is going to affect not only our everyday life but it’s going to affect her life and how long she lives and her quality of life.”

Helping Vivian live with CF is now a part of their everyday life. They help her take enzymes to help her digest her food, and they do chest therapy, which helps clear the mucus that blocks up her lungs.

The chest therapy helps “keep her lungs as clear and healthy as possible,” Christy said.

She also thinks a little differently about social events.

“You know, is it worth us going to a birthday party if another kid has a cold? No, we’re probably going to stay home, just trying to keep her as healthy as possible for as long as possible.”

Details on Vivi’s Vintage Market

On Saturday, Vivi’s Vintage Market will be held at the Old School House in Newberg. The family said the one-day event is a spot with curated vintage and handmade shops, benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“We’re trying to raise money because there is no cure for CF,” Christy said. “I want her to live a long, happy life, but it’s also about awareness. A lot of people have heard cystic fibrosis or CF but they don’t actually know what it means.”

Christy said life expectancy rates have climbed dramatically since 40 years ago, when doctors may have said a child with CF might not make it to grade school.

“Now,” she said, “the median life expectancy is about late 30s, early 40s.”

Christy said she really doesn’t want to have to think about the what-ifs.

“I just have to focus on the good and focus on the time I have with her right now and how amazing she is,” she told KOIN 6 News. “I’m just one person doing what I can do in trying to help in however way I know how to help.”

Vivian Rimrodt, 2, in the backyard of her Newberg home, May 10, 2017 (KOIN)
Vivian Rimrodt, 2, in the backyard of her Newberg home, May 10, 2017 (KOIN)