To the editor:
On behalf of the tens of thousands of Americans with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), I would like to take this opportunity to tell your readers about this life-threatening genetic disease. CF is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States, (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene causes the body to produce a faulty protein that leads to abnormally thick, sticky mucus that: clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections, and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
Prompt, aggressive treatment of symptoms of CF can extend the lives of those who have this disease. More than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of the defective CF gene. About 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year. More than 70 percent of patients are diagnosed by age 2 and more than 45 percent of the CF patient population is age 18 or older. The predicted median age of survival today for a person with CF is 37 years old.
Since 1955, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has been the driving force behind the pursuit of a cure. Thanks to the dedication and financial backing of our supporters — patients, families and friends, clinicians, researchers, volunteers, individual donors, corporations and staff — we are making a difference. The foundation continues its commitment to finding a means to cure or control the disease. People with CF depend on generous donors and volunteers to raise the dollars needed for the prudent investments in vital CF science and research.
What can you do to help? During the month of May, you can walk in the “Great Strides Walk.” More than 100,000 walkers will put their best foot forward this year at more than 600 sites nationwide. One of those locations is right here in Presque Isle — on Saturday, May 18 at Riverside Park. Registration starts at 9 a.m., walk begins at 10 a.m. BBQ to follow the walk about noon.
Thanks to Ruby Tuesday’s at the Aroostook Center Mall for helping raise funds for the 2013 “Great Strides Walk”! Dine with them on May 28, 29 and 30 and 20 percent of your check will be donated back to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
To find a walk in your area, go to www.cff.org and click on the Great Strides link or find us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/CFFNNE. Toll free number to the Northern New England Chapter is (800) 757-0203. Or just call me at 551-6871.