Mario Di Lorenzo was a seventh-grader at New Albany Middle School in 2006 when a teacher asked her students to pen their own obituary.

"I will die young," he wrote. "I will be running out of breath trying to catch a plane."

Di Lorenzo has cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that affects lung function.

His perspective at age 13 shook his mother to the core: "It was stunning," Daniela Di Lorenzo recalled, "and I thought to myself: 'I want him to make that plane. What can I do to make sure he catches that plane?' "

It also inspired an idea that recently raised thousands of dollars for others with cystic fibrosis.

Di Lorenzo, an avid quilter for several years at that time, discovered a new purpose for her hobby.

She began making and stocking quilt after quilt, all of them covered in hearts. She spent years crafting them without telling her family her plans for them.

In May, at the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, Di Lorenzo sold more than 100 of those quilts, raising $25,000 for the pulmonology department at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

"We had no idea how much money would be raised, and we were blown away by the support," said Kristin Ferguson, a family friend and business-development manager at the Heit Center, who helped Di Lorenzo arrange the sale.

"It truly was an act of service and of love."

Mario Di Lorenzo, now 24, certainly felt that love.

"It was a touching gesture," he said. "There's a lot of hours she put into that (quilting), so to do all that to benefit me and anyone else who has CF is definitely appreciated."

Mario was 6 weeks old when Di Lorenzo and her husband, Carlo, learned of his diagnosis.

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, more than 70,000 people worldwide are living with the disease, in which sticky mucus builds up in the lungs and the digestive system.

Immediately, the family started Mario on an intensive treatment regimen involving both medication and daily therapy. Every morning and night, he spends an hour in a special vest that vibrates to loosen the mucus in his chest.

Since 2004 -- when the family moved to New Albany from Pittsburgh, where Mario was born -- he has been hospitalized only once.

"He's very healthy; he's been blessed in that way," said Dr. Karen McCoy, one of Mario's physicians at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "To a great degree, that has to do with what his family does. This is a very demanding care program, and they have done it.

"If that wasn't the case, he would be sicker."

Because cystic fibrosis affects how the body breaks down food, patients have to consume extra calories. In Mario's case, that number is between 3,500 and 4,000 a day. (An average man is supposed to consume about 2,500.)

Fortunately, such a demand falls within Di Lorenzo's wheelhouse: She and her husband, Carlo, are native Italians, and she loves to cook.

The couple also have three daughters: Cristina, 21, who recently graduated from Xavier University; Francesca, 19, who just completed her sophomore year at Ohio State University, where she is a standout tennis player; and Valentina, 16, who is finishing her sophomore year at New Albany High School.

"She's a phenomenal cook -- she makes a five- or six-course meal every night," said Carlo Di Lorenzo, division chief of pediatric gastroenterology at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "She does it for Mario's benefit, but it works well for all of us."

Her family says Di Lorenzo quilts everywhere and anywhere -- on the sidelines and in the bleachers at her children's sports events; in the waiting rooms of doctor's offices; even, Valentina said, in stores while her children are trying on clothes.

Each of her heart quilts contains 20 hand-sewn panels, with the backing and borders finished using a sewing machine.

At the May 6 sale, Di Lorenzo said, about 40 or 45 customers bought quilts that they took home; the other 70 were paid for and left for her to donate to Nationwide Children's, where they will be given to young cystic-fibrosis patients.

"She put a lot of work into this, and she definitely deserved all the money she raised," Valentina said.

Mario, who graduated from Ohio State in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in marketing, works for Discover Financial Services in New Albany and lives at home.

Dr. McCoy said the average life expectancy for cystic-fibrosis patients is in the early 40s now, with some patients living to 60 or older.

For his part, Mario prefers to focus on his relative good health.

"I try to be like any other person and not let that (CF) define me," he said. "Compared to other people with this, I know I'm one of the more fortunate ones -- so I don't feel like I have too much room to complain."