Chris's Page

Metro DC Xtreme Hike

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Raised: $2,696.00

Goal: $2,500.00

My Xtreme Hike Story

  • Fashionable art installation in the woods, 2022
  • Erin in 2021

Hike number eight in the books!

I hiked a hurricane-hampered 10 miles in the mountains of southwestern Virginia on Oct. 1 to raise money for cystic fibrosis, a fatal lung and digestive disease that affects my family. I'm proud of my feats of strength over the past several years of mountain hiking for CF, and I was looking forward to resuming our annual weekend hike event after two years of day hikes. Hurricane Ian had different ideas, and we had a more informal event at Mountain Lake Lodge (where the movie "Dirty Dancing" was filmed). Twenty-two of us, nearly half of the planned number, came together to brave the weather and see if it was safe to do a hike shortened from the planned 22 miles. Between furious games of Jenga and Cards Against Humanity, we fit in a 10-mile hike spread over two legs Saturday morning and afternoon. After a blustery Friday night that knocked out power to some of our rooms, Saturday's weather was manageable, with a light but steady rain, though we occasionally had to bushwhack our way through brush and downed tree branches.

Approximately 30,000 Americans live with CF, which has a median survival age of 46 and no cure. They are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends and co-workers who struggle every day just to breathe. They include my niece Colleen Lusk, who died in October 2013 at 16, and her sister, my niece Erin Lusk, who is in her sixth year as a first-grade teacher.

CF is a genetic disorder that causes the accumulation of thick mucus in the lungs and around the pancreas, causing suffocation, infection, and digestive and nutrition absorption problems. It is fatal and there is no cure. Over the past several years, the progress that has been made toward finding a cure and treating the disorder have been amazing. A cure we are seeking is close, but we must continue to fund the research, which has already brought us this far.

From Colleen and Erin's parents, Hal and Suzanne:

"Our youngest daughter, Colleen, passed away on Oct. 24, 2013, from cystic fibrosis (CF). Colleen was a high school junior and would have turned 17 on Nov. 18, 2013. We miss Colleen every minute of every day, but we take solace in knowing that she can finally breathe easy and be free of all the pain she endured because of her CF. Colleen fought bravely through many obstacles including a collapsed lung, multiple vertebrae fractures, a clotting disorder, diabetes requiring daily injections, numerous picc lines, and a gastrostomy tube. Through it all Colleen maintained a positive attitude and a strong desire to live life to its fullest. She actively participated on her high school speech and debate team and appeared in several high school plays and musicals. The outpouring of love for Colleen from family, friends, and the community was an incredible testament to Colleen's impact on everyone who met her. Our town was covered in purple ribbons. Her high school student body held fundraisers and a candlelight vigil. The volleyball team, football team, dance team, theater group, and others all paid tribute to Colleen. Other high schools and her grade school also honored Colleen at various events.

"When Erin is on a picc line she receives IV antibiotic infusions every eight hours. She continues to require numerous daily medications, chest physical therapy two times per day, and 4-6 nebulizer treatments per day. Each day, Erin also needs to take about 50 pills. She will continue all of these treatments for the rest of her life. Erin's bravery and Colleen's legacy continue to be an inspiration to our entire family and community."

Chris again...Real progress has been made in the search for a cure, but the lives of people with CF are still cut far too short. I'm taking donations through the end of 2022. Your gift will help add tomorrows to the lives of people with CF. Your gift is 100 percent tax deductible.



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