2020 Ann Arbor Great Strides Ambassadors

Mitchell

Mitchell CF Foundation Ambassador

Everyone meet Mitchell! He was born and raised in Grand Haven, MI. He has three siblings, two brothers and a sister. Mitchell graduated from Calvin University as a Certified Public Accountant. He is a CPA working as an auditor for BDO USA, LLP and recently purchased his first home in downtown Grand Rapids. Mitchell enjoys hiking, being on the lake, and playing soccer.

Most weekends you can find him trying out new coffee shops or eating out at local recommended restaurants. Mitchell is one of the 2020 Great Strides Ambassadors for the Michigan Northwest Ohio Chapter. Mitchell also has cystic fibrosis. Over the next few months Mitchell will be sharing more of his story with us and why Great Strides means so much to him.

Alayna

Alyssa Great Strides 2020 Ambassador

Alayna was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis during the 20th week of pregnancy. During the last 13 years of Alayna’s life, she has been through countless breathing treatments, antibiotic treatment, a feeding tube, and hospital admissions.

Alayna lives her life to the absolute fullest. She's a football and competitive cheerleader, and no matter how she is feeling she gives it all she has.

On November 14th, 2019 Alayna started Trikafta. This medication has given the Artress/Albanys family hope for Alayna's future. Alayna is gaining weight, and her lung function has increased by 25 percent. Her constant productive cough is gone. She is able to continue being on the competive cheer team, and is able to run and keep up with the physical demand of the sport.

Alayna is feeling great and each day gets better and better!

Sarah and Alyssa Jackson

Sarah and Alyssa Jackson

Sarah Jackson and Alyssa Jackson are walking this year in memory of Emily, Sarah’s daughter and Alyssa’s sister, who unexpectedly passed away on June 2, 2019 at the age of 22 from complications while awaiting a double lung transplant at the Cleveland Clinic. Sarah and Alyssa are honored to be 2020 Great Strides Ambassadors, as Emily was the Toledo Great Strides Ambassador in 2018.

No one works harder on a daily basis than individuals with CF, but parents of a child with CF come in right behind their children in strength and determination.  As close family members of a CF fighter, Sarah and Alyssa experienced the many highs and lows with Emily. CF didn’t just affect Emily, but all three of them, and it was a mutual responsibility to give 100% towards caring for and loving Emily. Some days were difficult, but Emily always tried to bare most of the burden and meet her medical needs as independently as possible.

Emily graduated from the University of Toledo in just 3 years with her degree in nursing and worked as an RN upon getting her license. She had tons of friends, a boyfriend, a devoted family, she traveled to many places, met amazing people, and experienced so many blessings in life… all while fighting CF. .

On November 14th, 2019 Alayna started Trikafta. This medication has given the Artress/Albanys family hope for Alayna's future. Alayna is gaining weight, and her lung function has increased by 25 percent. Her constant productive cough is gone. She is able to continue being on the competive cheer team, and is able to run and keep up with the physical demand of the sport.

Although Emily’s outcome was not desired, Sarah and Alyssa are proud to say she made a difference, and if other CF individuals can learn from her life experiences, then what a legacy she has left. Emily would want all of you to advocate for CF research and for organ donations, and most importantly to advocate for yourself and as parents, for your child! 

“I thank God every day for Emily’s beautiful life on earth and for allowing me to be her mom. Thank you to the CF Foundation for giving our family the honor of being Great Stride Ambassadors this year in memory of Emily and in celebration of all who have been affected by CF. Together we are warriors for the heroic individuals who live and breathe CF every day.” -Sarah Jackson

About Our Great Strides Walk

While the CF Foundation has suspended in-person events through the end of June, the cystic fibrosis community is finding new ways to come together. Please save the date for a national, virtual celebration of the CF Foundation’s 65th anniversary on Friday, June 5. Join thousands of others from the CF community on 65 Roses Day to celebrate 65 years of progress.

Plus, stay tuned for details from your local chapter on an upcoming virtual community pep rally. More information to come. We can’t wait to celebrate with you.

Looking for something to do while you practice physical distancing? Here’s a few ways you can show your support and connect with your local community –

Participate Virtually.  Create your own at-home event – go for a walk in your neighborhood, hop on your treadmill, or spin on your bike. Maybe even start a dance party with your family at home. We know this is a hard time for families across the U.S. and globe, but you can do something to help others while staying safe.

Recruit. You can recruit others to participate in a virtual event with you as a member of your team.  

Fundraise. You can continue fundraising online by leveraging the tools in the Great Strides Participant Center, the mobile app, and Fundraise on Facebook to reach your goal. 

Share your Strides Pride.  Wear your Cystic Fibrosis Foundation branded apparel, custom team t-shirt, or a past Great Strides shirt while you walk, run, or ride. Share how you’re participating by posting a selfie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make sure to tag the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (@CF_Foundation) and use the hashtag #GreatStrides to keep the energy and momentum going strong! 

Thank you Sponsors!
We want to thank our generous national and regional sponsors - gold national sponsor, AbbVie, our silver national sponsor, Vertex, our bronze sponsors, Genentech and Gilead, and our regional sponsor, Mylan.  

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The CF Foundation is going cashless! If you are planning on making a donation on the day of the walk, we encourage you to bring your checkbooks or credit cards and avoid cash.