Darrick Drewry’s Story
You have probably heard of the Drewry family if you live in Thurston County, Washington. By way of introduction, Darrick Drewry is the focus of our new campaign for CF Northwest and was recently added to the lung transplant list at the University of Washington. Jacob Drewry, Darrick‘s brother, was the focus of our very first campaign when we began this nonprofit for Cystic Fibrosis almost ten years ago. Anna Lee Drewry was a firefighter with East Olympia Fire Department and for over 20 years has worked at Thurston County Medic One responsible for training and quality improvement.
For most Cystic Fibrosis patients, life is spent breathing through a straw and eventually having to be on oxygen 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Born and raised in the Olympia area, Darrick Drewry spent his school days in the Tumwater School District from East Olympia Elementary to Tumwater High School. His mother, Anna Lee Drewry, is well known in our community from her many years in the EMS and Firefighting services. His brother, Jacob Drewry is also well known to CF Northwest as the first campaign and original reason we started doing what we do. Growing up and living in Olympia, Darrick and his family have met and impacted the lives of many people who are connected to the community.
Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at just a few months old, Darrick has never let his disease hold him back. Growing up he played football, baseball, and his favorite sport, soccer. He was actively involved in the school band, playing in every iteration that the school had, from jazz to marching and select symphonic arrangements. Darrick has always loved to travel with his family and friends, going on camping trips, hikes, kayaking, snowboarding and quad trips. While Darrick never let his CF keep him from doing the things he loved or be an excuse for not doing something, he was also very open with any who would ask, explaining what it was and answering any questions that they would have. He knew that CF would be a part of his life and the lives of many others so he decided that instead of hiding what it was, he would help bring awareness to those around him and volunteer for medical studies to help progress treatments to give CF patients better, longer lives. Even through his twenties Darrick’s resolve remained, but slowly his CF worsened. “One day, I played a pick up soccer game with some friends and realized that I couldn’t keep up like I used to. I didn’t think much of it at first, but a few years later when snowboarding, I barely had the ability to get down the mountain, and that’s when it really hit me,” says Darrick.
Professionally, Darrick worked many years as a manager in hospitality services and audio engineering. He then moved to Kent and began working at Amazon, although that career was cut short, as he had to devote more and more of his time to managing his CF. Dealing with 2-3 flare-ups a year, each of which required 2-4 weeks of IV antibiotics and sick-leave for weeks at a time, Darrick was not able to find a job that could accommodate this kind of frequent absence. “Sure I have had a lot of frustrating experiences, but I just kept pushing forward, not letting it get me down.” Darrick explains. Every time CF would knock him down he would look at his brother and push harder. “It was kind of a unique situation, having my brother by my side dealing with the same disease. It allowed Jake and I to have sort of a competition, a ‘if he could do it, so could I’ type of situation.” In 2013 Darrick met the love of [his] life in Kelsey Madsen and she has been a tremendous source of support. She recently became Derrick’s fiancé. Through the worst year in 2018 beginning with the passing of his grandma Norma, then Darrick’s thyroid cancer diagnosis and removal, and ending with the devastating loss of his brother Jacob due to rejection, Kelsey has been there to help keep him pushing forward.
Through the years, Darrick has changed the lives of all those around him. “I like to think people think of me for the music I play, or the fun we have together, never for being the skinny kid with CF.” Darrick’s determination to live a life he loves with the people he loves is what gives him the strength to fight for new lungs.
Currently Darrick is doing pretty well, however recently he has had to be on oxygen throughout the night. For the rest of the Drewry family, CF has meant years of supporting Darrick through breathing treatments and hospitalizations. Darrick and his family are waiting patiently for that phone call from the University of Washington for new lungs.
Please spread the word about Darrick and encourage everyone to help wherever they can. We will be forming a committee for an upcoming fund raising event and folks can also donate on this webpage. Donations will be used to help with medical expenses (for example some rejection medication can cost up to $6,500 per month after receiving the new lungs) and other expenses associated with living with this terrible disease.
Thank you for your continued support.
Update: Darrick got his lungs in 2019! Click here to read more.