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Great Strides Walk
This year’s Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk will be held at Veterans Park on May 16.
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Great Strides Walk
Team Restore members Brad, Amy, Bennett and Mackenzie Skiff take part in the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk to honor family members. Photo courtesy of Brad Skiff.
While never a cystic fibrosis patient himself, Brad Skiff’s life has been impacted twofold by the disease.
The Hoover resident saw his brother-in-law, John, suffer from CF from a very young age and go through two double lung transplants, only to leave a young son and wife behind when he passed away at 36. But Skiff’s cousin-in-law, Sarah, is now 45 and doing well thanks to advanced CF research and new medications.
“I’ve seen both sides of CF — it totally debilitating someone, then also how research and awareness has enabled my cousin’s wife to benefit,” Skiff said.
That’s why he, along with family members and friends, will be part of the crowd at the May 16 Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk at Veterans Park.
According to Jennifer McEuen, associate executive director of the Alabama chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the event will begin with a 9 a.m. check-in for the 10 a.m. 5K walk/run. Breakfast food will be served, clowns will perform, and some special guest appearances are anticipated.
There is no set fee but organizers encourage participants to make donations, McEuen said.
“This is a big celebration for all the fundraising that has taken place via family, friends and sponsors,” she said. “In fact, we have about 55 teams in this area that have raised money with bake sales, phone calls, letter-writing and other means.”
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic, life-threatening disease with no cure. It primarily affects the lungs and digestive system, creating thick, sticky mucus that prevents proper nutrient absorption and causes tissue scarring that leads to loss of lung function. CF patients may spend significant time in the hospital and average 30 pills a day, plus two 45-minute breathing treatments as part of their daily routine, McEuen said.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was created in 1955 by parents of CF children hoping to find a cure and extend life, McEuen said. Among its achievements is the 2008 implementation of newborn screenings so CF is now usually caught at birth, making a huge difference in quality of life.
“When the foundation was founded, CF life expectancy was elementary school age, but today it can be the 30s, 40s and beyond,” she said. “This is great progress but we have more to make.”
For more information or to sign up for the May 16 Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk, go to cff.org/Chapters/alabama.