EATON — Lace up. Walk. Cure cystic fibrosis. That’s one goal for this Saturday, May 21.
The annual Great Strides Walk to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is set for this Saturday, May 21, beginning at 10 a.m., at the Preble County Courthouse.
Check-in for the fundraiser 5K is set for 9 a.m.
Karen Marshall, Preble County Cystic Fibrosis event coordinator and chairperson, has organized the event in support of raising funds to find a cure, for the past 22 years. She is stepping down after this walk, but will continue with the cause.
“My volunteer work and finding a cure for CF is my passion,” Marshall shared on her Facebook page. “I am not walking away from my passion and will continue to advocate and volunteer.”
Marshall’s son Alec, 22, was born with CF. He recently graduated from Wright State University.
According to Marshall, the life expectancy of those with CF has doubled in the past 22 years. This increase is thanks to the medical advances garnered through fund raising efforts. She has always said she is working to help find a cure, not just extend life expectancy.
Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest national fundraising event. Each year, more than 125,000 people participate in hundreds of walks across the country to support the foundation’s mission to cure cystic fibrosis. The funds raised from Great Strides helps provide people with CF the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment and ensuring access to high-quality, specialized care.
“Great Strides continues to gain momentum, as do our research efforts and the progress we’ve made in the search for a cure,” the foundation website notes. “The CF Foundation has raised and invested hundreds of millions of dollars to support the development of new CF drugs and therapies. But the lives of people with this disease are still cut far too short.”
Walks are held at nearly 500 locations nationwide and are open to the public.
Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.
In people with CF, a defective gene causes a thick, buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps bacteria leading to infections, extensive lung damage and eventually, respiratory failure. In the pancreas, the mucus prevents the release of digestive enzymes that allow the body to break down food and absorb vital nutrients.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry, in the United States:
•More than 33,000 people are living with cystic fibrosis.
•Approximately 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year.
•More than 75 percent of people with CF are diagnosed by age 2.
•More than half of the CF population is age 18 or older.