By Portia Williams
RUSSELL, Ky. — In a collaborative effort with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) of Kentucky-West Virginia, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital (OLBH), will host the Great Strides walk. The walk will take place in Saturday, Sept. 13 at Bellefonte Pavilion, 2000 Ashland Drive, in Russell, on the campus of OLBH with registration at 8 a.m. and the walk beginning at 9 a.m.
Ruth Hans, development director for the Kentucky-West Virginia chapter of CFF, said the Great Strides walk is the organization’s biggest fundraiser.
“We would like to raise $8,000. Great Strides is the largest fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. We have approximately 600 different walk sites throughout the country each year. Several of the walks are held in the spring, but several are held in the fall as well,” Hans said. “It’s a great way for people to come out and support the community, because there are several young adults and children in the area that have cystic fibrosis, so its a great way to support those families that are dealing with it everyday.”
According to CFF, cystic fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease. Funds raised through Great Strides have helped spur dramatic progress in the lives of those who have cystic fibrosis.
Fifty years ago, most children with the disease did not live long enough to attend elementary school. Today, people with cystic fibrosis are living into their 30s, 40s and beyond. Cystic fibrosis affects about 30,000 adults and children in the United States and 70,000 people worldwide. It causes debilitating lung infections that lead to premature death. More than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of a defective cystic fibrosis gene.
She said participation in the walk opens up awareness about cystic fibrosis and increases the chances of finding a cure for the disease.
“It’s a great way to learn more awareness about the disease, and obviously, with it being one of our largest fundraisers, it does raise quite a bit of money, and our money goes into research and development. We actually have several new drugs in the pipeline that are under development, that have had some studies and the results are very promising,” she said.
She said she anticipates 150 to 200 to show up for the walk.
To become involved with the Great Strides event, call OLBH’s Lung Health Program office at 606-833-3339 or contact the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Kentucky/West Virginia Chapter at 1-800-526-8126 or visit greatstrides.cff.org.
Portia Williams can be reached at 740-370-0712 or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.