Teena Mobley was born May 29th, 1995. At the age of two, she was adopted alongside her brothers and sisters and moved to Long Island. Growing up with her siblings, she could not remember a time where she was not active. While Teena loved staying active through sports, she always had a passion for basketball. Because of this she was always a fit child growing up, but there were some things she could not understand at the time. As she reminisced on her younger days, Teena remembers always being very thin, not being able to put on weight, and constantly sweating.
At the age of 10, while she was outside playing basketball, she suddenly did not feel well. Teena immediately knew something was wrong. She had never felt this way before and went home to inform her parents. They took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed with asthma. Teena thought this would put a wrench in her active lifestyle. Unfortunately, it was more than that. Teena was hospitalized a lot after her first doctor’s visit, which had been a misdiagnosis. This led to more tests being done, including several sweat tests which confirmed Teena’s diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. With no medical history from her birth parents, and cystic fibrosis being uncommon in African-Americans, doctors were perplexed at the results.
“It’s very important to have a strong support system”
Teena and her family were thoroughly informed about what to expect with this disease. This is when she began taking medications and using a nebulizer. “I would always say I had asthma because it was just easier to explain,” Teena described. Adjusting to a new routine and taking medicine was difficult at first, but she found a way to make it part of her life. In her teenage years, Teena lost some motivation to keep up with this new lifestyle and was not as consistent as she needed to be with her medications. She quickly realized it was crucial for her life and well-being. Teena was able to get back in her routine and stay on top of her medications and treatments, which became a top priority again.
During high school, Teena stayed very involved with sports. Because of this, she followed a very rigorous diet. Individuals with cystic fibrosis need to have a high calorie diet mostly made up of fatty and salty foods, which is not ideal for athletes. This was just one more obstacle Teena had to fight through and she came out victorious through her incredible drive. She proved it in her long jump distance for track and field. Coming out of high school, her recorded long jump was an outstanding 18 feet and 9 inches! Through all of Teena’s hard work and dedication to her body she was offered a track and field scholarship for college.
“Don’t let this illness define who you are”
Teena attended Monroe College where she obtained her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. She recalls freshman year being a bit of a transition. This was a time where she was living on campus, fully independent, and she had to use her vest machine. She viewed it as ‘embarrassing’. She pushed through and moved on to attend Long Island University for her Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. During these times, Teena was following a meticulous schedule composed of seven classes, two internships, work, and two-a-day practices. Through great time management, she was still able to find time to focus on her diet and medicine intake. This led Teena to great athletic success as well. She was able to set a new personal record with her long jump – distance at 19 feet and 7 inches! She detailed her typical workout routine:
Run around the track 2x
Bounds (long jumps)
Squats-using additional weights
“Everyone that has CF should workout… exercise saved my life”
Along with everything Teena accomplished in college, she also decided to become a spokesperson for all others with cystic fibrosis. In regards to obstacles that people with cystic fibrosis face, “People already think our capabilities are fairly limited, but we shouldn’t limit ourselves,” Teena commented. Since making this decision, she has been the guest speaker for Adelphi University’s 65 Roses Gala and created a Facebook and Instagram page. The page is dedicated to ‘redefining life’ and cystic fibrosis. Through her efforts and appearances, Teena pushes to redefine the outlook on cystic fibrosis. Teena does this not just for patients, but for families as well. On her Facebook page, she not only encourages her ‘CF warriors’, but uplifts and inspires others. She has even uploaded workout videos proving there are no limitations and the importance of daily exercise for someone with cystic fibrosis.
Currently, Teena resides in New York and works at CBS Sports Network. Teena is still a cystic fibrosis speaker and advocate. She said, “I want to share my voice and story and be a role model for others, with or without CF because anything is possible”. In the years to come, Teena hopes to continue inspiring others to continue fighting. She wants people to know, “You have to fight the disease, don’t let it fight you. Anything is possible! Always have faith and follow your dreams.”