Just Breathe.

February 3, 2014  |  Life Beyond Cheer

Breathe. It’s simple, right? It’s something that most of us don’t think twice about, something that so many of us take for granted – but not Caleigh Haber.

Caleigh, a 2008 graduate and alumna cheerleader of Santa Margarita Catholic High School, has cystic fibrosis and is in need of a double lung transplant that could save her life.

“Lately I’ve been satisfied with the simple things like breathing in and breathing out,” said Caleigh.

anc caleighDespite having to take up to 60 pills a day to fight the genetic disorder, Caleigh has always been active. During her four years at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, she competed on the varsity cheerleading squad. Even after her cystic fibrosis became aggressive, Caleigh didn’t let it get the best of her.

“Though she got pneumonia and was in and out of the hospital, she never missed a competition or game. She’d tumble, yell and grin right alongside her teammates,” Dana Maas, coach at SMCHS, told the Orange County Register. “They have two and a half minutes on the floor, and she’d come off and just collapse. I would give her an inhaler and help her breathe.”

To help raise funds for Caleigh’s transplant and medical expenses, the Santa Margarita pep squad participated in a turn and tumble-a-thon. The cheerleaders completed 1,400 Tucks and Toe Touches in two minutes to raise money for Caleigh! You can check out the video here.

“Thank you to the Santa Margarita family for showing compassion to an Eagle in need of some support,” said Caleigh.

anc caleigh4Twenty-three-year-old Caleigh currently lives in San Francisco, where she has had to put her childhood dream of becoming a pastry chef on hold as she awaits a transplant. She is documenting her strength, spirit and struggles through her blog at fight2breathe.org.

“Cystic fibrosis has made me the friend, sister, daughter, who I am today,” Caleigh wrote in her blog. “I have accomplished many goals, but I am not finished yet, not even close.”

To donate or learn more about Caleigh’s journey, visit fight2breathe.org. You can find her on Facebook at facebook.com/fight2breathe and follow her on Twitter @TeamCaleigh.

-Kim Conley