Cianne had always known that a transplant was not an option as she had MRSA. A bug she only contracted a couple years ago from poor hospital care. This also means that she could never actually meet another CF patient face to face, as she was too much of a risk to infecting them. I know that this saddened and frustrated her tremendously as there were some dark times when I couldn't be there for her. She just needed support from others going through the same thing and I couldn't be that. A couple years ago, she decided that she wasn't going to live her life a slave to the copious amounts of medication that this disease demands and she just stopped taking them. She wrote an excerpt for the Irish Times that you can read here. She told me that she knew her time on Earth was limited and she just wanted to go everywhere and do everything. To this day I remember this indescribable mixture of pride for my best friend's courage and this heart-wrenching pain of knowing the inevitable. I remember thinking that she was superhuman. No one can look death in the face that calmly and with so much positivity. I hugged her for a long time and vowed to help her achieve that and be by her side as much as possible. I thought we had so much more time, and so many more adventures planned but now you're gone and you didn't even make it to my 21st birthday.
When she couldn't wakeboard anymore, I like to believe that she lived a little vicariously through my riding. It makes me so incredibly happy to know that I could have done that for her and been there in that way. To have someone believe in you so wholeheartedly like that makes life so worth living. She is one of the few people that I know that would drop absolutely everything for me. Time, matter, or money was not an issue. In fact she did do this for me in 2010 when I was going through a breakup and I needed her wise words and a shoulder to cry on. She said we are going on a surf trip, I'll meet you in Spain next week. You came all that way for me when you were so incredibly sick. And even though the weather was horrible and you contracted pneumonia, which meant we spent most of the week in the hospital, it was one of the best trips of my life. Her best quality was motivating people to reach their full potential - to become the best of their ability. She didn't take mediocre as an option for her short life, and she certainly wasn't going to let you.
On this note, I just want to highlight some of her achievements in the short, yet amazing, 21 years she spent on this planet. (I say some because this memoir would turn into a best-selling novel if I were to list them all.) She lived in Ireland, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Orlando, Morroco, and I wouldn't be surprised if you told me that at one time or another she had visited every single country on this planet. She spoke French, English, Arabic, and she went to Art College in Holland for a year and learned some Dutch. She was such a talented artist, and my shoes, car seats and arm's were her constant canvases. She was an Irish National wakeboard champ and placed 9th in the world in Korea in the last contest she ever competed in. She was the founder, director and designer at Breathe Boardwear and her legacy and vision will forever live on through her company. Most of all she was a beautiful, selfless, loyal, and loving friend to hundreds around the world. She accepted everyone without judgement and she always seemed to have a smile on her face. She was so funny and she made me laugh so much. The kind of laughter where we laughed so hard that our sides felt like they were splitting and we couldn't breathe. We mostly talked in a language of inside jokes, the familiar speech of two best friends with way too much in common. I'll miss her forever.
In July, I flew over to England for Wakestock, and we knew that we were so close that we had to see each other. She couldn't fly because of her lung capacity, so she drove over with a friend from Ireland. That was the last time I saw her, and I am so thankful that I got to give her my 21st birthday present - a scrapbook of all our photos and memories together.
I wish every day that I had another chance to see her and say goodbye formally, but then I think no, that's not how she would have wanted it. She would have wanted it exactly what it was: a weekend together where we were happy and free - a see you later, not a goodbye.
8 time world Champion!? 3 down 5 more to go for you, babe.
Cianne, you are so loved and you have inspired so many people to dream bigger. I miss you so much and whenever I want to give up on something I know that I have to persevere to make you proud. From here on out, it's all for you. You are tattooed on my arm and etched into my heart for the rest of my days. Your death will not be in vain and we will find a cure for CF so no one else has to lose their best friend. I know you are finally breathing easy up there and watching over me with all the other angels. Rest in peace, little wild one.
A fan just sent me the most beautiful message and said that 'she can watch over you from a whole new perspective now. Right by your side forever. Every time I see one of your competitions or one of your awesome wakeboarding videos from now on, I will see them differently. You've got an angel on your shoulder'. She is so right :) xo