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Inspiring Delco woman with cystic fibrosis gives back at Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia

Delco woman with cystic fibrosis gives back to patients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Delco woman with cystic fibrosis gives back to patients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia 02:33

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A special delivery to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia from a former patient. She said thanks to all the help and support she received at CHOP, and then she went on to become a successful singer.

Now, she wants to help other young patients.

She knows the place well but instead of being a patient, Julia Rae is back at CHOP sharing gifts.

"I put together the Feel Better Boxes to really give these patients the things that really meant a lot to me when I was a young patient in the hospital," Rae said.

She was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease that causes thick mucus to build up in organs.

"I did up to two hours of breathing treatments every day but even that kind of care didn't prevent me from being hospitalized," she said.

CHOP became her home away from home but that didn't stop her from pursuing her first love: music.

"My mom says I sang my first words and I was on stage by the time I was 6 years old," Rae said. "It was difficult to sing from the standpoint of physically demanding for me but actually, it was so therapeutic."

When she was 16 she created a nonprofit called Singing at the Top of My Lungs to fund music therapy programs and empower children facing challenges while also helping the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The 31-year-old is now a professional singer and actress.

But she remains committed to the Feel Better Boxes. She fills them with fun things for young patients and even includes inspirational affirmation cards.

"Helping others makes me feel good and I think that's always so important because I know that once I focused outward on my battle it made it feel a little easier," she said.

Rae said she's now on a medication that eliminates almost all of her symptoms making singing easier.

The Feel Better Boxes are inspired by the music therapy that she received as a cystic fibrosis patient at CHOP.

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