'Experience Of A Lifetime': Cystic Fibrosis Sufferer Lauren Rowe Talks 'TABOO'
Lauren Rowe appears in the premiere episode of 'Taboo' with Harley Breen.
Slowly suffocating or drowning in your own body sounds like the stuff of nightmares, but for 28-year-old Lauren Rowe, this is a very real scenario.
At one day old Lauren was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. At 19, she received a double lung transplant, and she may need another one if her body chooses to reject the organs.
"Basically, it's a genetic illness that affects all the mucus-producing organs in your body," Lauren explained to 10 daily, adding, "it essentially causes excessive mucus in the lungs, creating infections and deterioration -- so even catching a simple cold could potentially kill me."
None of this is very funny -- quite the opposite -- but that's exactly the challenge comedian Harley Breen wanted to take on in creating a stand-up routine that pokes fun at the very people we shouldn't be laughing at -- and Lauren was more than happy to be involved.
"Oh my gosh, it was one of the best experiences ever, I'm not just saying that!" Lauren told 10 daily.
"I didn't know what to expect when I walked in. My family and friends were there and I'm thinking, 'Oh my gosh, what's going to happen?'" she continued, adding, "I have not laughed so much in my life, I was out of breath laughing the entire time Harley was on stage."
Making fun of those with terminal illnesses may sound brutal, but for the participants involved, including Lauren, it was an overwhelmingly positive, life-changing experience.
"I definitely walked out of there just feeling so happy. It just gave us all the warm and fuzzies because you felt like a big community -- like we're all connected in this experience," she explained.
"I think laughter is so imperative for us as a society to reflect on ourselves and give people in the minorities a voice, and this is just an incredible way of doing it -- I could not fault Harley at all."
It was an experience Lauren found surprisingly refreshing, in most part because no one felt the need to tip-toe around her life-threatening condition.
"Everyone was so open and honest about everything and there were no barriers," she explained. "It's ironic, I was there because of my health, but it was the first time in my life I really felt like myself."
Despite the fact that her donor lungs began to fail four-and-a-half years post-op -- meaning that it's very likely she could need another double lung transplant in future -- Lauren is incredibly optimistic. She's even turned her situation into one that helps others through her foundation, Gifted Life, which aims to support those with CF, as well as create awareness around organ donation.
"I want to empower people who are sick and can't do the everyday things that the average person can -- I want them to know it doesn't make you less of a person," she explained.
And for the best part of her entire 'Taboo' experience, Lauren said it's the incredible friendships she made with both the cast and crew of the Logie-nominated series.
"We would constantly be laughing when the cameras were off. I had such an amazing experience of a lifetime and I'm so grateful that I got to be a part of it."
'Taboo' premieres Thursday, June 13 at 8.30 on 10 and WIN Network.
Featured image: Network 10.