December 5, 2011
Karmen Miller babysits several kids in Fluvanna County, but unlike most of the youngsters she watches, all but one of the Martinez kids have cystic fibrosis, a serious condition also known as C.F.
C.F. can be a severe or mild disorder that affects many of the body's systems, including the respiratory, digestive and reproductive. Miller has spent the last four years babysitting the kids and says they've had just as strong an impact on her life.
“They've been such an inspiration to me. I've changed as a person since I've known them and they've turned my life around,” she said.
Before meeting the Martinez family Miller knew nothing about cystic fibrosis. After being asked to watch the kids for a couple of days, she taught herself about the disease so that she could better care for 11-year-old Abby, 7-year old Michael and 2-year-old Matthew.
“I babysat for them that night and from then on I was hooked," she explained. "I learned about cystic fibrosis. I looked it up online and learned about it, and from then on I've been taking care of them."
From preparing the right doses of medication to helping with special treatments, Miller has taken on a big responsibility, one mom Mary Martinez is grateful for.
“She's just the greatest. She has just really taken a cause that is obviously close to our hearts and made it her own, and there's no way that we can repay that,“ she told CBS19.
For Miller, this is more than just a babysitting job. It's an opportunity to spread an important message to the kids.
“The goal is explaining to them that cystic fibrosis is not a burden, it's a fight. So, not to look down on it, but to be thankful that it makes them unique. That's what we try to emphasize because we don't want them feeling bad about themselves because they're different. We want them to embrace it," said the wise-beyond-her-years babysitter.
And they have. Between the encouraging words and all that Miller does to take care of the children, many say she has truly earned the title of a hero.