Business & audio student, cystic fibrosis educator, cat lover
When Grant Manczuk was in the hospital last semester, he missed his shifts as a lifeguard. His boss asked for an apology. He quit instead. Manczuk wouldn’t apologize for having cystic fibrosis (CF).
From a young age, Manczuk knew he was different from most of his peers, but he didn’t let that stop him. Manczuk, a business management and audio production major, uses his disease as a way to spread awareness and educate people.
AMPERSAND: How are you affected by CF?
GRANT MANCZUK: I want people to know what CF is and how it affects each person differently. Mine is more digestive than breathing, so I’m still able to run, still able to do things. That means three treatments a day that take about an hour each. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is to a college kid. Whenever I run cross-country with the guys, I know I’m not the fastest. I won’t be up in the pack. If I can stay a little bit behind them, I’m content. I don’t push myself. I’m not a normal kid. The hardest task is to be normal.
AMP: What do you want people to know about CF?
GM: When people hear of CF, the general book term, it’s super wrong. It affects the lungs and the digestive system. My little brother and sister, they have it, but theirs is different. What I want people to know is that anything is possible. So many people [with CF] are told that they can’t go anywhere. I was told that many times.
AMP: What is your motivation?
GM: Having something to look forward to each day. I originally did not plan on going back to school, but I told myself that I would go just because a degree is something a normal person would go get. By doing that, I feel like I’m setting an example for my younger brother and sister that I can go above and beyond what is expected of me and do what other normal people do. That is what motivates me — my little brother and sister being able to see that I can go above and beyond.
AMP: Tell me about Mr. Whiskers, your cat, who stays with you in the dorms. How did you get him?
GM: I’ve had him for a year now. He has extra toes, he’s a polydactyl. Back at home, my friends used to work at a Sonic and there was this stray cat they kept feeding. One of them decided to take it home but they couldn’t keep it. They knew I was looking for an animal, so I got a call. School already knew I was going to bring an emotional support animal, so I drove four hours to Kansas City to pick up a full-grown cat.
Story by Melissa Buelt
Photos by Julia Peschel