The November meeting of the Home Builders Association of Statesboro didn't have a typical guest speaker.
Poised, assured and standing behind the sign that read "There is always, always, always something to be thankful for," 21-year-old Chase Thompson told attendees that he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 1 month of age and that most patients have a 35- to 42-year life expectancy.
However, he quickly added, "I've learned to be thankful, regardless of the situation."
Cystic fibrosis is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of children and adults, causing respiratory problems and stomach issues.
Thompson's employment status constitutes the fourth generation that has worked at the prominent Statesboro business that sponsored last month's meeting of the Home Builders Association.
Statesboro Floor Covering Services, owned by Deborah and Roy Thompson, Chase's grandparents, was originally started by Roy's parents, Leroy and Nita Thompson. Jennifer McCranie and Tyler Thompson, Chase's mother and uncle, comprise the third generation.
"I have a lot to be thankful for," Chase Thompson said from the podium. "I am thankful most for the support I receive. I can't remember a time that my family wasn't there for me.
"I don't like making excuses for my CF," he continued. "I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I've learned to embrace it over time. If I only have 35 years to live, then I better get going."
And he does just that. Thompson works full-time, enjoys attending Connection Church, relishes time spent with family and friends and just started his own nonprofit business.
"I'd been praying about starting a business for CF," he said. "I've seen families who struggled to pay for medications and doctor bills, so I wanted to do something to help."
"Never a Day Off" represents the lifestyle of a cystic fibrosis patient, with no day off from treatments and medications. Thompson takes two treatments every day and sometimes needs several hospital stays per year with more aggressive treatments and medications.
He sells bracelets for cystic fibrosis awareness and to help raise funds for families with financial needs because of the disease. With help from his good friend, "Sketch," who is a tattoo artist, Thompson has designed a T-shirt and hopes to sell it soon.
The idea for his "Never a Day Off" campaign partly stemmed from a friend with cystic fibrosis who recently needed a double-lung transplant.
"It made me see how blessed and thankful I am," Thompson said. "God's given me the ability to keep going. It's made me not take things for granted."