Scott Ose and his wife Jada are the parents of 11 children between them -- six hers, three his and two more together, Sydney Kaye and Zoe. The Ose family is down to “only” four at home now.
The youngest of the bunch, Zoe, is nine years old and has Cystic Fibrosis. She was diagnosed just before her first birthday with the devastating, genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. There is no known cure.
I got to know Mr. Ose, an aircraft certification inspector for a leading jet manufacturer, when he emailed me a couple years ago to tell me about his daughter. We have corresponded ever since, and he sent me photos of Zoe for my new book, “Emily Gets Her Gun.” The inside front and back covers are filled with photos of real Americans and their guns, which demonstrates the truth about those exercising their Second Amendment rights. This is the third in my new series called "The American Gun Owner."
“Being raised in a family that shared a love for hunting and fishing, I've enjoyed passing this heritage along to our children,” said Mr. Ose, a Marine Corps veteran. “We all truly love to shoot recreationally, and most of us have our conceal carry permits and utilize them.”
“Zoe, as well as all of the kids, have learned to enjoy shooting, and I enjoy helping them to learn and practice safe shooting skills,” Mr. Ose told me. In the photo above left, Zoe is learning from her father to shoot a Walther P22. The family has many firearms, including Smith & Wesson, Taurus, Beretta, Kimber and Ruger handguns; Browning, Winchester and Mossberg shotguns; and AR-15 and AK-47 type rifles.
"With all that is happening in this world today, and all of the predators that are so prevalent in society, it comforts me -- just a little -- to know that our children at least have a chance of defending themselves if the need arises.”
Cystic Fibrosis occurs when a defective gene pair causes the body to produce a thick mucus that clogs the lungs, which leads to infection, and obstructs the pancreas which makes the body incapable of absorbing the nutrients from food. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, there are about 30,000 people in the United States with the disease. In the past, few children with Cystic Fibrosis survived past elementary school, but with advances in research and treatment, many can now survive into their 40s and beyond.
“Jada and I love Zoe with all of our hearts, and we want her to have the best possible chance at a long and healthy life -- an extremely hard thing to accomplish when one has a genetic, life-shortening disease called Cystic Fibrosis,” wrote Mr. Ose in a recent email. “She needs a lot of prayer and positive thoughts. She’s a tough girl, but we are struggling.”
On Monday, Zoe is having a procedure to try to inflate her collapsed lung, following a three-week course at the of two IVs infused for six hours a day. She is hospitalized several times a year for IV antibiotics to deal with lung infections. Mrs. Ose spends every hour with her daughter in the hospital.
Normally, Zoe spends three to four hours a day doing breathing treatments and chest physiotherapy (airway clearance). The nine-year-old takes 30 pills a day just to help her digest food, plus all the other medications to keep her healthy.
Her father notes that the disease is “deceiving” because she looks to be healthy. “Zoe loves and embraces life. She's both a precious little girly-girl and a "tomboy" at the same time. She loves the all the things little girls love and she loves the outdoors as well, all of our children do,” he said.
Mr. Ose would never say or think this, but he has made many sacrifices for his beloved daughter. The family moved from his company’s location near Savannah, Ga. to Jacksonville, Fla. right after the diagnosis so that Zoe could get the best possible medical care at the Nemours Children's Clinic. Mr. Ose had to commute 330 miles round trip a day to his job.
Recently, the family moved to Saint Marys, Georgia, which saves about 80 miles a day off his daily drive. Mr. Ose’s eight-year-old Toyota Corolla finally blew its engine this summer when the mileage hit 930,000 miles. He was hopeful it would last to one million miles.
Mr. Ose said he originally reached out to me because he will do anything to help his little girl. “It's crucial to Zoe's very precious life, and so many others, that awareness is created because it often acts as a catalyst to spur fundraising for research leading to a possible cure. So anytime we have the opportunity to share a little bit about Zoe and her disease, we welcome it. Everyday is a race against time and a race for her life.” Read more about Zoe and the Ose family at ZoeForLife.blogspot.com.
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