SIDNEY — Custenborder Field will be the site of the sixth annual Sidney Great Strides 5K Walk for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) scheduled for Sunday, May 19.
CF is a life-threatening, genetic disease that causes severe digestive disorders and persistent lung infections and progressively limits the ability to breathe. Around 30,000 children and adults in the United States are living with cystic fibrosis.
Katrina Howell, this year’s Great Strides co-chair along with her husband Nick, noted that five teams and several individual walkers are already registered for the event, which begins at 3 p.m., with check-in at 2 p.m. Additional teams or individual walkers are welcomed to register online or at the field on the day of the event.
Great Strides is the largest national fundraising event for the CF Foundation, with more than 400 walks nationwide, and this year marks its 31th year nationally for the event. The CF Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure of CF, and nearly every CF-specific drug available today was made possible with our financial support.
Since the Great Strides event began in Sidney, more than $120,000 has been raised locally for the CF Foundation.
“We welcome any teams, corporate teams, individual walkers, if you don’t even want to be on a team. All are welcome, Howell said. “They can pre-register online, and even the day of the walk, if they want at the walk. They get T-shirts if they raise over $100.”
Sidney’s TAM 105.5 FM will be broadcasting live and providing music throughout this year’s event, and participants will be welcomed by Safety Pup from the Sidney Police Department. The Sidney Fire Department will also be participating and providing an up close look at its aerial ladder fire truck. Additional attractions expected at the event include Star Wars re-enactors; a balloon twister; and Col. Sanders look-alike, Col. L.A. Thayer and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Color Guard. Snacks and drinks will be provided following the walk.
According to cff.org, “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.”
Most people with CF are diagnosed by the age of two, according to the CF Foundation. In the 1950s, most children with CF were not expected to live long enough to attend elementary school. Today, the median length of life for someone with CF to survive is into their 40s.
Katrina said their 10-year-old son Wyatt was diagnosed at birth. Participating is important to her family because it can help find a cure for the life-long disease.
“We are very blessed Wyatt does very well, but still I think the fundraising is very important because you never know. Because with a disease you never get cocky — is what my term is — because you think life is going really great and then a bump comes. They have come up with so many new medications that are really making a huge difference. Probably about 80 percent of the kids that have CF, there’s many different mutations that can cause the disease, unfortunately none of those medications work for Wyatt’s mutation, but they are working. So we just keep raising money and try to help them get to that point.”
Anyone who wants to join a team or donate to the CFF can do so at at http://fightcf.cff.org/site/TR?fr_id=7292&pg=entry . All proceeds go to support CF research. For information, call 937-538-6071.