If you’ve ever had difficulty breathing (spring allergies, anyone?), then you’ve had a small taste of what it’s like to live with cystic fibrosis – a rare, genetic disease that makes breathing challenging and shortens the lives of those who have it. Help raise awareness and fight for a cure for CF by signing up for the Dallas Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Walk on May 4 at Vitruvian Park in Addison.
Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest fundraising event, which supports the Foundation’s mission to cure CF. Each year, more than 125,000 people participate in nearly 400 walks across the country to support the Foundation. According to its website, “Great Strides provides a fantastic opportunity for family, friends, students and colleagues to come together and make a difference in the lives of people with CF. The event harnesses the power of people with a shared vision and encourages collaboration, team building and leadership, as we collectively take steps to find a cure.”
The Dallas Great Strides is put on by the Northeast Texas Chapter – Dallas of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This local chapter hosts many events in addition to Great Strides in order to get the community involved and raise money to help those living with CF.
According to the Foundation, more than 30,000 people are living with CF in the U.S. – and more than 70,000 have the disease worldwide. This genetic disease causes mucus to clog the airways and trap germs and bacteria in the lungs, which leads to infections, inflammation, respiratory failure and other complications. Additionally, the buildup of mucus in the pancreas prevents the release of digestive enzymes that help the body absorb food and nutrients, resulting in malnutrition and poor growth. In the liver, the mucus can block the bile duct and cause liver disease.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was founded in 1955 by a group of parents. At the time, there were no treatments for the disease. Over the years, the Foundation has supported research leading to groundbreaking discoveries, including the identification of the gene and protein responsible for cystic fibrosis. Now, it is the world’s leader in the search for a cure, and almost every CF-specific drug available today was made possible with the Foundation’s financial support. It has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into CF research and drug development, causing people with CF to live longer, healthier lives than ever before and pursuing dreams they never thought possible. In fact, the life expectancy of someone born with CF has doubled in the last 30 years, and many people with CF are living into their 30s, 40s and beyond.
In 2018, the Foundation announced a commitment of $100 million to the Infection Research Initiative, which is a comprehensive approach to improve outcomes associated with infections through enhanced detection, diagnosis, prevention and treatment. The Foundation is also pursuing and funding new treatments for other complications of the disease, including inflammation, excessive mucus, gastrointestinal problems and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
In addition, the Foundation committed over $72 million to the Nonsense and Rare Mutations Research and Therapeutics Initiative, which is focused on people with nonsense and rare mutations who will need a unique treatment for the underlying cause of their disease.
The Dallas 2019 Great Strides has a goal of raising $633,240 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Although registration is free, all walkers are encouraged to raise funds to support innovative research and drug development, advanced care and advocacy for CF. Simply sign up online, then share the donation link to friends and family to ask for their support of this worthy cause.
Check-in begins at 8 a.m., and the walk will start at 9 a.m. When you sign up, you can join an existing team with your family and friends, form a team as captain, or join as an individual. If you don’t want to walk yourself, you can also donate money to a walker or a team. Please note: if you want to donate to the Foundation on the day of the event, please bring a checkbook or credit card as cash is being discouraged.
Also, in order to prevent infections from spreading, please use caution when attending the event. The Foundation recommends: regularly washing hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based gel, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your inner elbow and maintaining a safe, six-foot distance from anyone with a cold or infection. The Foundation also recommends that all people with CF maintain a six-foot distance from each other at all times to reduce the risk of cross-infection.
When you attend the Dallas Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Walk, you will get to enjoy a beautiful spring morning at Vitruvian Park surrounded by water, trees and nature; you will get to work out during the 5k trail; and, most importantly, you will get to support a wonderful organization who is working tirelessly to end CF once and for all. That sounds like the perfect Saturday to us!