Beth Mattingly Denham
Executive Director KY/WV chapter Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Family: husband Tim, four adult children, and three granddogs
By Carrie Vittitoe | Photo by Kylene White
Beth Mattingly Denham considers herself a “helper bee” and has been drawn to positions in various nonprofits where she can meet and develop relationships with people. Her desire to help stems in large part from experience: her older brother suffered a brain stem injury as a result of a car accident when she was a child, a traumatic event that forever changed Beth’s family. She knows firsthand the pain and torment that people can experience and their loved ones have to witness.
What are your priorities as executive director?
I work closely with my team to make sure the chapter is running smoothly, that we’re strong in our customer service skills, and that we’re mindful of the people we serve. We spend a lot of time on the phone and email figuring out how we can best serve the needs of people living with cystic fibrosis and connecting those individuals with the resources they need to stay healthy.
How did COVID-19 impact the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since people with cystic fibrosis are especially susceptible to the virus and complications?
We were actually doing the six-feet apart and masks long before COVID. In 2013, we went through a serious infection control policy update. We realized that individuals with CF can share very deadly germs with one another that wouldn’t affect individuals who do not have CF. When we do events sponsored by the foundation, we can only have one person at an indoor event that has CF. We try to do as many outdoor events as we possibly can so we can have more than one person with CF attend. Even then, we ask that they keep a distance.
What is most rewarding about working at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation?
Seeing the incredible progress we’ve made. When I started with the foundation 14 years ago, the life expectancy was much shorter than it is now. At that time, it was in the mid-30s. When children were born back in 1955, when the CF Foundation was formed, doctors would tell parents, ‘You’ll be lucky if your child makes it to first grade.’ The life expectancy is now over 50 years of age.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
That I didn’t have to sleep. I am such a night owl, and I have major FOMO (fear of missing out). My mom would say even as a little girl, I was so hard to potty-train because I didn’t want to stop.
Who was a celebrity crush you had as a kid?
Andy Gibb. He was my first concert. I had his album that I would play on repeat. We watched Happy Days as a family so Scott Baio would be second.
What is a special hobby you have?
I started taking dance classes again. I danced as a little girl and loved it but then did sports. I love to dance just for fun. I absolutely love it.
What trait do you appreciate in other people that you feel you don’t have yourself?
I envy people who can relax, decompress, and be still. I have a really difficult time doing that. I’m getting a little better the older I get. I’m in awe of people who can separate that work/life boundary.
Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Absolutely a dog person. We always had dogs growing up. My first dog’s name was Lucy, a beagle mix. Back then, they didn’t spay or neuter animals [like they do now and] Lucy had a lot of male visitors. I think Lucy in her lifetime had 60 puppies; she was the best dog mom. She really taught me about loyalty, love, and motherhood.