But this inspiring woman’s biggest challenge is dealing with cystic fibrosis, or CF. Bentley, 44, was diagnosed in her early 20s with the genetic disease that results in severe breathing problems and frequent life-threatening infections. For some, the disease can be fatal.
“CF has taught me the power of longevity while giving me the psychological advantage to compete with other professional athletes on the world stage,” said Bentley. “I live life to its fullest and stay as active as possible.”
Bentley placed second among Canadian runners at the 2013 Boston Marathon. While she resides in Caledon, Bentley spends almost half the year training in Florida.
When Bentley isn’t training 25 to 30 hours each week, she coaches triathlon and skills training camps for other professional athletes. She also delivers motivational speeches for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and promotes the need for greater CF research as part of the Cure4CF campaign.
Bentley attributes her good health to the proactive care she receives from Dr. Liz Tullis and the CF team at St. Michael’s Hospital. Bentley has come a long way since her five-week hospitalization in 2010 when she was on an IV and at 58 per cent lung capacity. In December 2012, she achieved a record peak of 85 per cent lung capacity. Much like other diseases, CF has highly active and inactive periods.
“My advice to other CF patients is to keep living true and to never give up. Keeping physically active is key as CF is not a death sentence,” said Bentley. “I encourage other sufferers to be hopeful and to listen to their body. Maintaining proper lung function is the ultimate goal. If running triathlons is not to your liking, then go for a walk!”
St. Michael’s Hospital.