Students, residents to walk for Cystic Fibrosis

Stephanie Veldman

Ames residents and ISU students will be making great strides toward raising money for cystic fibrosis Saturday.

Organizers of the Great Strides Walk to Cure Cystic Fibrosis are working to raise money for research to find a cure for the disease. The walk will be Saturday in Brookside Park. Registration begins at 9 a.m., along with an auction.

The walk is 10 kilometers, or 6.2 miles, but organizers stressed the distance is not the focus of the event.

“One thing we want people to know is they don’t have to walk the whole route,” said Michelle Hall, co-chair of the walk. “There will be places people can catch vans back to the park.”

More than $42,000 was raised last year in donations, and Hall said the goal this year is $55,000.

“We want to make sure that people know that for any donation, people can come participate, and they do not have to walk the full course,” Hall said.

Organizers have made an effort to involve ISU students, and some students are participating for their second year.

“I started walking my freshman year because my dorm floor was walking,” said Alicia Dorr, junior in speech communications. “I just want to let people know that it is a good time and a great cause. Almost everything we raise goes into the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.”

Lunch will be served to all the participants, and organizers will have games for attending children to play. There is no fee to participate, but prizes will be given away for donations of $50 or more.

Some of the items they will be auctioning off include autographed ISU athletic items, body massages, health-care packages and motel rooms with dinners.

Hall said cystic fibrosis is the No. 1 genetic killer for children and young adults. More than 30,000 people in the United States are affected.

Cystic fibrosis affects all the mucus linings in the body, but the area it hits the hardest is the lungs. It deteriorates the linings in the lungs and literally causes them to quit, Hall said. It shortens the lives of those affected so severely that the average life span is only age 31.

The disease has touched Hall’s life. “Both of our sons have cystic fibrosis,” she said. “We do a lot of treatments to make their lives as normal and healthy as possible.”

Hall said that while there is no cure for cystic fibrosis, there are preventive treatments that will cut back on the chances for lung infections and increase the chances of living a few more years.

For more information about cystic fibrosis or to pre-register for the Great Strides Walk to Cure Cystic Fibrosis, contact Hall at 233-5884 or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Des Moines at 1-800-798-5151.