On Saturday, October 1st, bicyclists participating in the Aptalis CF Cycle for Life event set their wheels in motion through Greater Boston to raise money and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). The course looped from Holliston to Concord and back, with the option for riders to tackle a 12, 30, or 65 mile route. Each rider raised a minimum of $200 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the leading CF organization in the United States. The Foundation is a highly respected, accredited non-profit supported by donors, with hundreds of Cystic Fibrosis outreach and care centers nationwide.
This past Saturday's CF ride marked the event's 14th year in Boston. The ride was originally founded by volunteers in the town of Holliston and was known as The Cycle for Haylee. In 2010, the event joined forces with the national CF Foundation, and it remains a family-friendly, grassroots event, despite its new name and increased sponsorship (with support from Dunkin' Donuts, Grace Bicycles, WZLX, City Sports, Landry's Bicycles, and Tennessee's BBQ). Last year, 227 riders raised over $130,000 toward a cure for CF. This year, the foundation exceeded its goal to raise $150,000 with a whopping $160,000 raised toward a cure for this disease.
What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects about 30,000 people in the United States, and about 1,000 babies are diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis each year. The gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis was identified in 1989, however there is currently still no cure.
More Cystic Fibrosis Facts
- Over 70% of those with Cystic Fibrosis are diagnosed by age two.
- More than 45% of the CF patient population is now 18 or older, a huge improvement from the 1950s, when few diagnosed children lived to attend kindergarten.
- The predicted median age of survival for a person with CF is now in the mid-30s, and many are now living into their 40s and beyond.
What are the symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic Fibrosis is a chronic disease in which the body produces a mucous that clogs the lungs and obstructs the pancreas. This leads to life-threatening lung infections and inhibits the normal digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. From the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, symptoms include:
- Persistent and frequently congested coughing
- Frequent lung infections
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Poor growth/weight gain in spite of good appetite
- Varying difficulties with bowel movements
How can you help?
There are many ways to offer your help toward a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Raise awareness by forwarding this article, volunteer your time to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, or donate funds toward a cure in one-time, monthly, memorial, or tribute donations. You can encourage your employer to join the CFF matching gift program. You can even donate your vehicle.
To learn more about Cystic Fibrosis, including donation, diagnosis, treatments, and how diet and supplements lead to a healthier, more active lifestyle with CF, please visit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's website, http://www.cff.org.