Great Strides, Great Stories

Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest national fundraiser. Every year, families, donors and friends take steps to help support the search for a cure. In this section, we’ll feature a special person or team who played an integral role in the Great Strides walks. We hope you’ll find this story to be inspiring as we continue to make Great Strides in our efforts to find a cure for CF!

Click here to meet others featured in the Great Strides, Great Stories series. 

Running for Love

Passion Fundraising: 65 Miles for 65 Roses, Jesse Sjoberg

My wife and I met in a pretty traditional way – through my younger brother.

“Do you want to meet the hottest girl on campus?” he asked. Not long after, I was introduced to Jacqui – a beautiful girl who I learned had cystic fibrosis. I fell in love with her instantly and we have been together since 1999.

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Jacqui, who was diagnosed with CF at birth, is the strongest, most courageous woman I know. She’s never let CF hold her back from pursuing her dreams. Despite hospitalizations and infections, Jacqui gave birth to our two beautiful sons, Ayden and Hunter. She has bravely endured countless pills, nebulizer treatments, PICC lines and insulin shots – and she has moved 10 times with me as an active-duty U.S. Marine. Perhaps most amazing, Jacqui remains spirited and determined in the face of an illness that has the potential to significantly shorten her life.

I was never much of a runner, but because I want to be healthy enough to serve as a live donor for Jacqui if she needs a living lung transplant someday – I do my best to fight CF by running. In doing so, I get a small glimpse of what it must be like to have to struggle for every breath, a struggle Jacqui encounters daily. Watching my beautiful wife stoically face challenges has encouraged me to step up and do my part to find a cure for CF.

In 2011 I started “65 Miles for 65 Roses” as a passion fundraiser. Each year, I run 65 miles in the fall, no matter where I am. I’ve run three times in San Diego, twice in Washington, D.C. and once abroad in Bahrain. To date, I have raised more than $125,000 to support Great Strides. I create the route myself, often times starting right from my house. I get up on the designated day of “65 Miles for 65 Roses” and just start running.

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Each mile is a chance for me to unpack some of what it is to be a spouse of someone with CF, to do something really hard that helps me deal with the hard parts of loving someone with CF. It always occurs to me that after my run is complete – however exhausting – I regain my energy and can move and breathe easily again. Jacqui doesn’t have that option, nor do other people with CF, and that’s what keeps me running every year.

Running helps me communicate to Jacqui how much I care about her, and to my children that there is hope – there are ways to fight against CF. This battle is one we can’t wage alone and I continually feel blessed that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation exists. The Foundation is working hard to discover a cure for CF and I’m grateful for the people who work there on every level -- from coordinating research, to raising awareness, to the local chapter staff who dedicate their lives to help families like ours. That’s why I’m proud to run “65 Miles for 65 Roses” to support the Foundation’s mission every year.

To join Jesse and the 125,000 other walkers making Great Strides toward a cure, sign up today: www.cff.org/greatstrides.

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Great Strides, Great Stories

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Meet Jesse Sjoberg,
“65 Roses for 65 Miles”

Every year, Jesse runs 65 miles for his wife, Jacqui. Click below and learn about Jesse’s run and his commitment to raising awareness about CF and supporting the Foundation. 

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