Champion student overpowers struggle with cystic fibrosis through passion to sing

Local News

CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) – A 15-year old Champion High School student did not let cystic fibrosis stop her from sharing her beautiful voice at the school concert last week.

Sydney Smith would sing in front of her TV almost every day, practicing songs over and over again for the choir concert at her school. 

“It’s how I can express myself. I don’t like talking, so it’s easier to express myself through singing,” she said.

Since she suffers from cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that damages the lungs and digestive system, Sydney sometimes has to practice from the hospital bed.

“I was getting stressed because they learned newer songs or different parts of the songs, so I had to do that while I was there. I was stressed out because I have to keep practicing my solo and stuff and I can do that in my hospital, but I usually end up doing that at night and I sing really loud.”

Just a few weeks before the freshman was set to perform, she was admitted to the hospital.

Christine Orr, Sydney’s mother, said she knows when her daughter isn’t doing well.

“I can tell because she loves to sing, she sings 24/7. If she’s not singing, I know she’s sick, I know there’s something wrong,” she said. 

Even after a few weeks in the hospital, Sydney knew she was not going to miss the performance last Thursday. She got the all-clear from her doctors Wednesday night. 

“I sang a lot that day and practiced a lot and I just needed to make sure that I was getting enough rest for me to go to school on Thursday,” Syndey said.

In just one day, Sydney left the hospital to get on stage to do what she loves. Even though cystic fibrosis makes it harder for Sydney to sing, she gets up and fights through it every day.

“I’m just thrilled to be able to see her do what she loves and be able to take that time to be away from the treatments and taking the pills and all of the tough parts of her life and just be able to show joy through what she loves to do,” said Christine.

Whether she is practicing from her living room or the hospital, Sydney said it is a battle she doesn’t plan to give up anytime soon. 

“If you’re not feeling well, just try the best to get yourself better to do what you love,” Syndey said. 

She wants to pursue a career in music after graduating. 

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