I stride for that handsome young man in the picture holding the sign for last year's Great Strides walk, Joey Miller, my sweet son. He is a gift to me and all those that meet him. He is bright, funny, thoughtful and brings a smile to my face at the start of everyday. He cares so much for others and I want him to know how much I care about him. I will do anything for him. He is fighting everyday with CF and we will not give up until there is a cure. The science is almost there to cure this disease for all those with CF. It is only an amount of time and money that it hasn’t happened. We have the smartest scientists, doctors and advocates on our side and we just need to give them the resources to do what they do best - find a cure! We are close - the only way to keep moving towards a cure is by raising awareness and funds to get there. Joey is on some incredible treatments that Great Strides has made possible. I stride because I want to make sure this continues so he can have the best life possible and all those that fight with this invisible disease can win.
Spring has arrived and that means JoeStriders are getting ready for our annual Great Strides Walk to cure Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Given this year’s COVID-19 pandemic it is even more imperative that we raise awareness and funds to help those with CF. As the world has shut down, so has much of the progress in treatments, research, and fundraising. We were really hoping Joey could start one of the newer meds in the pipeline, but have learned that the trial for this has been postponed with no idea of its start date. Given the chronic lung involvement of CF, Joey is one of the vulnerable, so we are not sure what his life will look like as the world reopens. His life as many of you know already include lots of social distancing, handwashing, and masks. But now it is even more imperative then ever given COVID-19’s unknowns. While Joey has been preparing for this his whole life, we have always known that each virus/illness that he is exposed to can scar and permanently damage his lungs. CF takes a little of his lungs each day which is why it is a progressive disease. He slows this process by keeping up with his rigorous CF treatment/medicine routine, exercising as much as possible and avoiding organisms that will affect his lungs (viral, bacterial, fungal etc...) Many of these organisms won’t make those without CF sick, but will cause life-threatening sickness in Joey’s lungs. If it is an organism that will make a healthy individual sick it is exponentially more dangerous to Joey.
As many of you know, Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s (CFF) largest nationwide fundraiser. Thanks to the incredible generosity of many of you, Team JoeStriders has raised over $30,000 since we have started. The money raised has helped Joey, and all those with CF, immensely through the new medications he is taking and will be taking in the near future. He was able to start a new medicine this year called Symdeko (a newer drug to treat the underlying cause of CF rather than just the symptoms), and there is an even newer one that may become available to him soon, but the pandemic put that trial on hold that would make it available for his age group. This has all been possible because of the support of people like YOU.
Even though CF is considered an invisible disease because you can’t tell someone has it from the outside, it is something Joey fights with daily. CF makes all the mucous in his body to be thicker so he can get sick really easily. He has had a fairly good year with fewer pulmonary exacerbations due to his new medicines, his compliance to treatments, and his support in the community, school and from you that help keep him healthy! He also makes exercise a priority and pushes himself as much as possible to keep his airways clear and his lung muscles strong. He loves all sports, especially swimming, lacrosse and basketball, and we thank his coaches and friends for playing and encouraging him. Even while being so active he still manages to fit in constant daily tasks related to his care--lots of pills, physical therapy, vests, Acapella, TheraPep, Aerobeka, breathing exercises, sinus treatments, nebulizers, and all without ever getting a day off. Though time-consuming, he does these with a smile (most of the time!) We would love to take this condition away from him, but we can’t. What we can do is do everything in our power to find a cure. We would be grateful for any help you can give. Here are four ways to do so:
1) Make a donation on my personal page (http://fightcf.cff.org/goto/JennyMiller) to this cause. Every dollar counts! We get no federal funding and all CF progress has been made through private donations. All the medicines that Joey is taking have been made possible by these donations. We are so very grateful for your help.
2) Forward this email on to anyone you think might be interested in helping us or attach this link to a group email:http://fightcf.cff.org/goto/JennyMiller
3) Sign up to participate in a virtual Great Strides event with us on June 5, 2020. Given the recent COVID-19 outbreak the CFF will bring everyone together virtually to celebrate the Great Strides we have made to cure CF. If you want to participate you can Sign up by visiting my personal page http://fightcf.cff.org/goto/JennyMiller. Let's make CF stands for Cure Found!
4) Pray for Joey's continued good health and for a CURE!
Thank you for helping us in any way you can.
Jenny and Fred