BUTTE – Bridget was just six months old when diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Doctors said she would only live to be 15 years old.
“And back then I thought, ’15 years, we’ll be able to figure something out.’ Well, she’s 15-and-a-half now and she’s coming to the end of her journey,” said Bridget’s mother Elizbeth Gardiner.
There’s no cure for this hereditary disease and treatment is no longer working for Bridget, who is spending her last days with her family.
“You know, I just look at her every day and I’m so thankful for her every day and I’ve watched her struggle and be in pain and be sick, and she’s done with no complaints,” said Gardiner.
The Cody Dieruf Benefit Foundation out of Bozeman stepped in to help the Gardiner family in this dark time. Ginny Dieruf started this foundation for people with Cystic fibrosis after her daughter died from it at age 23.
“Like Bridget, her only wish was that we try to help others. Let’s make awareness of this disease and that’s what we’re doing,” said Dieruf.
For her last request, Bridget could have had anything she wanted and she chose to have a community party at the Silver Bow Athletic Club. She wants everyone to come out and celebrate life, which is precious and, sometimes, way too short.
“This life celebration is going to be held and we want Butte to come forth and show Bridget your love, whether you know her or not,” said Dieruf.
Gardiner added, “Right now I’m sad because she is going to go. But she’s brought me more joy than she has sadness for sure. She’s been my best friend and my inspiration and my hero.”
Bridget hugs her mother, “I love you, momma.”
“I love you too baby,” her mother said.
The public is invited to the celebration of life party at the Silver Bow Athletic Club, 1203 Howard St., Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.