This is our family's 18th year participating in Great Strides. Nicole was born in 2001 and was diagnosed with CF at 4 months of age; she is now 17! Andre was diagnosed prior to birth and he is now 14! This has been an eventful and emotional year for our family. As many of you know, Andre received a double lung transplant in January which has been life changing for him. He has had a few bumps in the road, but was able to do his first hike in The Smoky Mountains in April. Prior to the transplant, he was out of breath just walking in the house.
They both work extremely hard every day to keep their health on track and live a life that is as normal as possible. As they are getting older, this task becomes more difficult but they never give up. They are the best of friends and a rock for one another. No one can understand what they are feeling or go through better than each other. We are so proud of them and in awe of their strength and perseverance.
Medications and treatments for CF have come a long way and over the last few years there have been some great break throughs. The medications that are becoming available are not just to treat the symptoms of CF, they actually aim to correct the defect. In basic terms, by correcting this defect, the defective CFTR protein is able to get where it needs to be in the cell and the sodium / chloride exchange can happen. This should improve the thick, sticky secretions in the lungs and decrease the amount of respiratory infections. The final result is an increase in lung function! Nicole and Andre do not have the proper mutations to fit the criteria for any these medications available, however, they are coming! Great results are coming from studies in progress for combinations that will benefit Nicole and Andre...we are so close!
So, on May 4th, my family will walk for the 18th year to continue helping those that are living with CF and to remember those that have lost their battle. A special thanks to all of our family and friends that have supported us over the years! Over the last several months we have received such an outpouring of love and support from so many of you and saying "Thank You" hardly seems to be enough. However, please know that our family will never forget your generosity.
Thank you all!
The Gill Family
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