Charity Tuesday: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

 

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Hey hey! I’m trying a new thing out today! We’re going to call it Charity Tuesday! Each Tuesday I’m going to spotlight a nonprofit and you’re going to read it about it. I hope! These are going to be short, fairly fun posts. Feel free to chime in suggestions down below in the comments!

My heart is in the humanities, my degree is in Nonprofit Management – let’s help organizations make the world a better place!

First up is a nonprofit near and dear to my heart: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. Offices nationwide.

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What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a disease passed down through families that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract, and other areas of the body. It is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults. It is a life-threatening disorder.

There are approximately 30,000 Americans living with cystic fibrosis. They are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends and co-workers who struggle every day just to breathe.

Mission:

“The mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is to cure cystic fibrosis and to provide all people with the disease the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment, and ensuring access to high-quality, specialized care.”

Latest Achievement:

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced today the results of two 24-week clinical trails. Overwhelmingly positive is the fact that nearly 50% of all CF patients will benefit from this combination therapy! That’s awesome!! A drug patent is planned to be filed later this year so people can start using this therapy come 2015.

Why what they do is important:

Although today’s achievement is incredible the average lifespan is 37.5 – way too young. Tremendous progress has been made but there’s obviously more ground to cover. I kicked off Charity Tuesday with CFF for two more reasons – we give and we have a personal connection.

Last summer I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Saint Louis chapter. I was able to see how passionate this office was, help put on events, and meet the families. My first 50k was with them and we’re at it again this year. We got involved because, in 2012, my husband lost one of his best friends to Cystic Fibrosis – 23 years young.

How you can help:

Volunteer: There are chapters around the country that host walk, cycle, and hike events as well as annual galas, golf tournaments, and so much more! There really is something for everyone! Find your closest chapter HERE.

Advocate: If you are interested in helping the Foundation keep CF on the top of the political, industry, and research agendas you can get involved HERE.

Donate: If this is your “thing” or you’d like to donate to help me get across the finish line I would be honored. Click here to do just that!

 

As always – thanks for the reason to blog and all the support!

If you have a nonprofit you’d like to me to spotlight shoot me an email: thesaltypretzelblog@gmail.com

Oh yeah…I didn’t start (aka the tale of the LR Marathon)

Edit: Good morning!! It’s been a bit, how is everyone? I pinky promise to become the consistent blogger I once was.

If you follow me on Twitter or know me you probably also know I didn’t even get to the start of this weekend’s race…and *spoiler alert* it sucked!

Driving down was awesome, I had perfect driving weather and although not in the mood to drive the eight hours I was certainly antsy to get there! Since there isn’t anything special to report fast forward eight hours. I made it to my parents about 6, just in time for dinner 😉 ! I’m still a college kid at heart. After dinner I was exhausted and headed straight to bed, let’s fudge the time and call in 9:00. Ok, ok I think it was more like 8:30.

Fast forward another 9ish hours and I’m up and ready to run. But wait, the run wasn’t until Sunday. Dang, I was ready!
There was no day of packet pick-up so this out-of-towner headed into Little Rock and attended the expo.

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You’d think since I now live in STL and at least drive through downtown pretty often I would remember how difficult parking can be. Nope, not in the least. I ended up parking a half mile away and walking, it just wasn’t worth the fight and it wouldn’t kill me to walk a little so I did.

Packet pick-up was quick and easy, he had to look twice though to make sure I was in the stack -panic set in- then he found me and directed me to the rest.

I went and listened to Bart Yasso for a little bit while he was on the side stage of the expo and met up with a Twitter buddy. This was planned ahead of time and it was great to put a face to a social media handle (look at me being all tech-savvy!). She and I chatted and walked around for a little bit. We dropped by the Another Mother Runner‘s booth and I fell into conversation with Another fan who was working the booth. We had the best geek out moment together and swapped information so hopefully get to volunteer together this summer!

By the time we split it was getting close to time to meet up with Bree, Running Breezy, who was running the half and a friend of hers who was running the full. I met up with them right before Bart Yasso held his actual speech. I got to sneak in a little bit before and meet him personally as well as pick his brain for a few. I’ll be honest, I didn’t exactly take full advantage of that chance…

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Instead I ran into a CF mom with a 14 year old. I can’t lie, this was the highlight of my weekend. I was wearing my Xtreme Hike tshirt and she approached me to tell me her story. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease that causes thick mucus to build up in the body causing a multitude of health complications throughout a patients life. Although the average life expectancy is now 37.5 less than forty years ago it was 18. She had incredible things to say about the Foundation and was very happy to report her daughter is extremely happy and healthy.

Bart Yasso LR Marathon

Listening to Bart Yasso talk about his international experiences  and his battle with Lyme disease was eye opening and just fueled my running passion. He also had his book for sale so I went ahead and picked it up, I haven’t had a chance to so much as peek at it but I have a feeling I will love it. I’ll keep you guys updated!

We all went our separate ways after that and went back to parents, grabbed dinner, and went to bed. I live an exciting life, let me tell you!!

I was up at 5 to get to the start line by 7:30. The line being about  an hour away I figured giving myself an hour and fifteen would be perfect. My mom was amazing and came in right after I woke up to make sure I was up and see if I need anything. Best mom ever. After showering and dressing it was time for breakfast, an avocado! Mom also made me a peanut butter bagel – awesome. We talked a little longer without looking at the clock and I had to rush out the door 23 minutes later than planned…oops. That’s 6:53AM.

Still took this artsy shot of my trusty Brooks and bib

Still took this artsy shot of my trusty Brooks and bib 😉

By the time I got into downtown Little Rock it was 7:45 and I was stuck in traffic by 7:48. The LA kind of traffic that is. From 7:48 to 8:10ish I literally sat in the same spot. AGH! It’s true, I was gridlocked too. The light kept changing but the if the first car were to go said car would hit a runner. That would have been bad. Real bad. So we sat there; the light kept changing; runners kept running and eventually the car next to me let out it’s passenger out so he could run. Yeah, that sucked.

I was happy for him though and wrote down his bid number, let’s just say I ran vicariously through him and we did pretty good!

Anyway, once one car moved we all turned around and left…I got back on the highway, drove back to my parents, and ate breakfast after they got out of church. Most disappointing race to date.

That being said I learned a lot and I really do think I was supposed to miss this one. Yes I cried and yes I “wasted” my weekend for “nothing” to some but I got to go on a road trip, enjoy the buzz of the race atmosphere, and most of all I got to see my family and friends. I’d call that a pretty ok weekend overall.

What’s shaking Bacon? Er, I mean…What’s up Chuck? Or maybe just…What’s happening? I won’t even try to rhyme any more haha (you’re welcome).

Post Event Depression

It’s a thing. We’ve all been through it at one point or another and we all have our own way of dealing with it.

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Post race depression is the second or third (depending on how you count) suggestion in Google Search and has 4.3 million hits. What else is there to possibly say? What it does to me and most importantly how we can all hopefully overcome it.

  • I get cranky. Really, really, really cranky. Like my husband can’t do anything right even though he deserves the Husband of the Year award.
  • I get pushy. This kind of goes with cranky but I want everything done right now. No, yesterday. I want you to read this yesterday! Which leads me into the third…
  • I am completely unmotivated. I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to run, I don’t want to do anything. I just want to lay there like a blog

PS that’s just the beginning!

So how does this:

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Lead into this:

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Let me explain…

You’re anticipating “your” event and you may even rock it out, set a PR, have a great time and everything might have gone your way. The anticipation and the excitement is over so it seems as if there’s not a whole lot more to look forward to in terms of racing. A few hours or a day go by and you’re down in the dumps, you feel like you’ve been knocked off the top of the mountain and all you want to do is curl up, eat junk food and never race again. At least that’s how I feel. What used to happen is I would do just that and it would be months and months before I’d get up and even go on a run again.

I decided this time that wasn’t going to happen so what did I change? Everything.

  1. I (read ‘my amazing husband’) didn’t let me just wallow in bed Tuesday morning like I wanted and skip class. I did lay in bed about thirty minutes until he so awesomely coaxed me up but I did eventually get up and have a productive day!
  2. I (this time it really was me) ordered an appetizer so I would be too full to eat dessert when we went out Wednesday night. It would have been the ice cream on top of a skillet cookie kind of dessert too so my incentive was to starve myself until dinner!
  3. I signed up for two races in the past week to keep myself motivated. A 5k that I’ll run mid Dec and a full marathon I’ll run in April. This has two purposes: to keep me looking forward to a race and to keep me training so I don’t fall into a rut…again.
  4. I’ve also found surrounding myself with other runners who are mid training helps! Shout out to Bree at RunningBreezy for helping to keep me sane!

The rest of the week:

  • By Tuesday I could descend stairs with very little pain and my quads are back to 100%! Yay!
  • Marathon training starts a week late this Monday because I was in too much pain last Monday. Cheers! With marathon training comes “Marathon Mondays”!
  • My “Go! Marathon Weekend” hat (free to the first 250 crazies who signed up for April) came in with a little bit of happy training motivation!
  •  I ordered ProCompression socks at 40% off this week and got a shipping conformation this Thursday – I hope they’ll get here in time to go to California with me!
  • Speaking of California – I’m headed out there next week to see family. I’m really sad about not being able to make it to the beach but I’ll be glad to be on the West Coast! I’ll be attempting travel friendly workouts aka quiet!

That’s all the noteworthy stuff happening in my world this week.

Does anybody else have ideas for beating out the blues? Races they’ve signed up for recently?

Event Recap: Xtreme Hike

I welcome foam rollers, sticks, and athletic trainers even two days after this xtreme adventure!

Although my leg of this journey started over three months ago and will take a break until until next summer I can honestly say it didn’t seem long enough. I introduced you to my inspiration a few short weeks ago and since then the anticipation has been building like mad to give you guys a recap.

Let me apologize in advance, I am going to take you through the whole weekend so get ready to read (and see more than a few pictures)!

Friday:

I packed my bag (you guys got to see that process – lots of work!), headed over to eat lunch with and get a few knots out from my back by my husband, and finally headed out to the Wilderness Lodge in Lesterville, MO where we were staying for the weekend.

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Check in started at four but I ran into traffic on the way down so I got there about five pm and just in time to check in, socialize a little, be fed – perfect timing!! We were given welcome packs, room keys, and a weekend itinerary at check in – it was going to be a busy weekend!!

I stayed with CF Foundation staff in a charming three bed/two bath cabin that had a large living room and screened in front porch (there were even beds out there!).

A few pictures of the digs…

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Charming right? I thought so!

With almost all hikers and volunteers to the Lodge we chowed down on salad, homemade spaghetti and meat balls, and ice cream. I only had the fortitude to take a picture of the dessert. Yes, my mind was focused on the  sweet stuff in life!

While hikers ate Mike Burke spoke to us and truly touched each one of us. Mike is a 43 year old man who is living a insanely inspiring life. He has completed nine marathons, fifteen half marathons, and three triathlons all within the last thirteen years. But wait, there’s yet another remarkable thing about Mike – he has Cystic Fibrosis.

Take a moment and let it sink in.

Over 9,000 pills a year not just for CF but for Diabetes as well, a vest treatment daily, and somehow he still finds time to train for endurance events, give back to his community, and be thankful for CF for bringing him to where he is today.

Did I mention he’s about as humble and kind as they come? He is. He spoke to us about how at 16 he looked at his life and realized he may not make it to his high school graduation and at 20 the life expectancy was 22, how for that very reason he was not interested in going to college. Eight years (and a college degree) late Mike was 30, the life expectancy 28 and he had an epiphany that allowed him to take back control of his life from CF. From there he planned to live, he found marathons and is now running at 80% lung capacity. There is always hope. 

During dessert we moved to the safety and trail presentation. It was interesting to hear about the past and proposed future of the trail trying to get the Ozark Trail expanded to 700 miles from the Arkansas boarder to the Mississippi River. How is that for extreme?! The Ozark Trail Association even gave us nifty pins and brochures for bedtime reading!

Finally around ten o’clock we all went our separate ways and headed to bed. In just a few short hours we would be up and bused to the trailhead where we could begin our journey down the road less traveled.

We all went to bed with sweet notes from the CFF staff, could they spoil us any more? Ok, maybe with a foot rub post hike but it’s the thought that counts!

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I organized my pack Friday night with all these lovely goodies! Thank you to all our sponsors! Naturally here’s the gutted contents of our welcome packs:

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Saturday (Hike Your Feet Off Day!):

Beep, Beep, Beep, WHAP! That alarm was not a welcome sound at two am but thank goodness I could just stumble out of bed, fumble with my pack, and head out the door to breakfast. By three am I was awake and had eaten breakfast, filled my bladder (the one in my pack), and relieved my other bladder (TMI? Probably want to skip to the summary haha).

Bright eyed and bushy tailed we posed for the first of many pictures:

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Herded onto a bus next and gripped with anticipation we headed into the wilderness. Don’t we all look thrilled?!

1239534_10202269186910496_254050405_nThirty minutes later we evacuate the bus and gather in our respected start groups. Speedy Gonzales’ upfront and Team Tortoise in the rear. Off to Grandma’s house we went with our headlamps, maps, compasses, and determination.

I didn’t see this for myself but a very reputable source told me everyone looked like little ants marching up the hill (and there was a pretty steep incline for the first mile, elevation gain of 243 feet) and that we were adorable. This is probably the only time I’m going to celebrate being an ant – whoo!

I started out in the slowest proposed group and got to spend quality time with Team Tortoise. Our original group of four split into two groups of two and got to hiking at a comfortable, easy pace.

Deb and I hiked the first two miles before hearing the rest of what would become Team Tortoise coming in behind us. Ringleader Suzie took us in and we plodding along at a leisurely pace!

Head lamp activated, Garmin GPS beeping every mile

Within a few hours we hear the stomping of what we thought were hikers who started behind us. No, these were the hikers who started BEFORE us and who got lost less than two miles in. Savoring for a moment that we were ahead we moved to the side quickly when we realized that they planned on running us over if we even thought about standing our ground! The blur shows just how speedy these guys were:

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We wandered across a ridge, got to star gaze and watch the sun rise, it was

Aid Station #1 ( 2 hours, 48 mins in at mile 6.8)

We all felt pretty good, munched on some snacks, rested only briefly and hit the trail again.

I slipped into a creek crossing early on and Suzie offered to let me use an extra pair of socks she had in her comfort pack at the first Aid Station – thank goodness for Suzie! For the rest of the day I rocked some awesome pink knee highs:

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Here is our group (minus photographer Steve) at mile 8.7 or so:

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Happy, smiling people! Let me introduce them from left to right: Peggy, Patty,Suzie in the front; Tom, Deb, me in the back! Bonus material, the photographer:

Not a whole lot to talk about between Aid Station #1 and #2, we were all feeling good and glad to be hiking in such amazing weather!

Lots of “trail talk” happened throughout the day but in this particular leg we heard a little too much about Suzie and Tom. Oh wait, if I learned anything these past three months it’s that there is nothing off limits!

Aid Station #2 (mile 15.2)

Smack dab in the middle of our 30.1 miles blisters were starting to appear and knees started to hurt. Patty who had hobbled with blisters in many of our training hikes decided that she had gone as far as she could go and decided to cheer us on at the Aid Stations. Kuddos to Patty who listened to her body and gave it her all through mile 15!!

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We refueled with Gatorade and beef jerky. A few of us were running low on water so refilling our bladder was a necessity too!

Between Aid Station #2 and #3 proved to be the toughest part of the day, terrain was sandy, then rocky, and always unpredictable but we made it as a team and it proved to be valuable bonding time!

Aid Station #3 (mile 22.2)

I don’t have any pictures at #3 but we were getting mentally and physically exhausted around this time. Three of us had our feet elevated on a makeshift table.

Deb and Peggy scurried off before the rest of the team so Deb could see her family at the finish! They booked the last eight miles!!

Suzie, our fearless leader was close to the wall and about ready to throw in the towel until she looked through her inspiration pictures of everyone afflicted by CF. Putting on a brave face and drying her tears she slipped her shoes back on and we headed out on the trail. We were all fairly gassed at this point so it really helped everyone to have Mike Burke (inspirational CFer from Friday night, I know you remember him!) and Matt, a CF dad, trekking alongside us.

543449_10200120745456308_1667951110_nTeam Tortoise with the Game Changers!

We had a few falls early in the last leg but nothing serious came of them thankfully!

For the last little bit of the hike we were teased by the sight of the lake and the beach where the finish line was but it sure was beautiful!

The last mile or so was tortuous for me because Steve kept suggesting we had an extra mile or two to go and I went into complete mental panic. To prepare for that I slowed and took my time trying to figure out when the best time to cry was going to be. Thankfully Steve had misremembered the map and we were right on schedule!

We started hearing the cheers about half a mile from the finish line and a few of us jogged our way up into camp chairs and, for those legal to drink, beer. What a fantastic way to end a fourteen hour day!

The proof is in the pudding!

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Whoa. The exhaustion set in as soon as my butt hit the camp chair. Others had cramps and ultimate fatigue as we were finally able to celebrate being 30.1 miles and $93,000 closer to curing CF.

Back at the lodge about an hour and a half later we sat down to an amazing meal of smoked pork butt, cole slaw , corn melody, and some pecan and apple dessert that was out of this world. Again, all of it was homemade and again, I only managed to get a picture of the dessert. Whoops.

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As you can imagine it was time to shower and get to bed shortly after this!

Sunday:

Quite possibly the most insightful day of the weekend we woke up for breakfast around eight, packed our cars, and headed to breakfast. With tummies full of the best french toast and bacon anyone has ever had we were corralled into the dining room to hand out trail awards and receive event patches.

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The CFF staffer in charge of the event started off by giving Suzie (the whole reason the event began) a patch, from there we “pop corned” patches around the room telling everyone our connection to CF and what brought us to this hike. Story after story was shared.

Mothers losing children, triumph in spite of difficulties, the change of treatment and drug choice from thirty years ago to now, lemonade stands to raise money for a CF child so she could have a normal life, ER doctors hiking without a connection for the sense of humanity and compassion. Tears flowed freely and everyone felt the comrade that was experienced.

One of the fastest finishers stepped up to speak, she happens to be a CF mom and she said, “I’m not competitive, I’m desperate. This may not have been a race but curing CF is.”

That quote sums up the reason all of us ended up together, regardless of if we came to the Hike with a connection or made one along the way.

It was time to say our good byes and see you next times after breakfast. I loaded up and headed back home. Waiting for me was my husband and dog – what a welcome sight!

Next year, tentatively one day earlier, we will head out with the exact same mission as this weekend – make CF stand for Cure Found.

Summary:

Wow. This weekend was amazing. There is nothing more fulfilling than doing what you love for a great cause. Regardless of if that means hiking thirty miles or donating your time for a cause you believe in (your children and grandchildren are causes too) get out there and make a difference in the world. It takes one person to change someone’s life.

I want to thank the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – Gateway Chapter for allowing me the chance to hang out in the office all summer and meet some of the greatest families.

Thank you to the volunteers specifically for this weekend who spent literally all weekend being our support system but to everyone who volunteers.

Thank you to the Wilderness Lodge – fantastic experience, amazing food, super fun staff!

Thank you Team Tortoise from start to finish – could not have done it without each of you!

Thank you to my personal support team!! My husband, my parents, my family, and my friends. Y’all are the best!

Final thoughts:

If you would like to give I strongly encourage it. Almost ninety cents of every dollar goes directly research, the rest goes to make sure people are able to put on phenomenal fundraisers like this! My personal Hike page is here (as easy as click and submit!) and I would be honored by your support.

Again, thank you everyone who helped get me across the finish line!

And PLEASE, if you have a CF connection comment! I want to know who I hiked for yesterday! Questions are welcome as well 🙂

Packing for a Racecation

Welp, it’s finally that time!!! I am headed to Southern Missouri to hike 30.1 (Yes, just like that .2 is important to marathoners that .1 is important to me!) for cystic fibrosis and I AM SO EXCITED!!!!

This is my first hike weekend and I started to panic on Monday as to what I was going to forget so I 1) made a list and 2) put a box in the middle of the living room.

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That box filled up quickly!

With what? Let me share!

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Ok, ok so I may be overly prepared

What I gathered this morning before I left:

  • An old pair of tennis shoes
  • Flip flops
  • swim suit (there’s a pool and a lake!)
  • 2 sets of “regular” clothes
  • Phone charger
  • Watch charger
  • Deodorant
  • Vaseline
  • Smartwool socks
  • water bottle
  • 4 sports drinks
  • Another pair of running shorts

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Do you think I have enough? Surely not…

Yes, I know I will only be gone three days but I don’t want to forget ANYTHING!

What actually got packed? This stuff:

  • 2 sets of “regular clothes
  • Compression shorts
  • two pairs of running shorts
  • one sports bra
  • swimsuit
  • blister pads
  • ENERGYbits
  • RoadID visor
  • Trail shoes
  • Old tennis shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Band-Aids
  • RoadID
  • FuelBelt
  • Deodorant
  • Vaseline
  • Chargers
  • Socks
  • Waterbottle
  • Sports drinks

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Minus the doggy and his toy! He wanted to come but he has to stay home and keep the husband company!

Not pictured: undies, water shoes, and extra socks galore!

Did I forget anything? I’ll let you know Monday in the event recap!

Is there a racecation packing list you love? Something you always take with you?

What’s Next: CFF Xtreme Hike

One day. 30.1 miles. One 30,000 reasons.

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My phone alarm was set for 4:45 Saturday morning so I could hike 20 miles with the group at seven. As planned the alarm went off and as planned I hauled my butt out of bed, proceeding to fill my pack and get dressed (a little begrudgingly might I admit). I finally headed out the door at 5:45 to head to the trailhead that was 52 minutes away as I am notorious for getting lost!

As I was driving down the highway the sun was rising and every song on the radio was making me cry. No kidding, Martina McBride’s ‘God’s Will’ came on, I cried, someone else’s song about corn came on and I cried some more – I was a hot mess. I turned off the radio and got to thinking about why in the world would I get up and drive an hour to encounter ticks, snakes, and quite probably worse forms of wildlife.

I wanted the physical challenge of hiking 30 miles in one day sure but with that opportunity to push my body came the chance to fundraise for one of the most amazing nonprofit organizations I have ever had the chance to be a part of – The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – and that’s why I was up, ready to hike.

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the mucus membranes in the body and creates excess phlegm making life for the individual difficult and often times cut all too short. 30,000 adults and children live with CF everyday, taking 35 to 40 pills a day and spending up to 18 hours doing various treatments. By the end of September 14, 2013 I’m going to have a minuscule glimpse of how exhausting a day with CF might be like.

To learn more about CF I encourage you check out the national website!

Hiking for Allen:

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The first time I ever heard cystic fibrosis I was on the phone with my now husband and he was telling me about his best friend and how awesome he was. Stephen (my now husband) had been friend’s with Allen since junior high, they had always played sports and been active together even throughout high school. Allen was sick fairly often and had been in and out of the hospital pretty frequently throughout the years, never knowing or understanding what kept coming back to bite him. Eventually during yet another impromptu stay in the hospital a nurse practitioner had a hunch about what we know now was so the doctor sent blood work to the lab to specifically test for cystic fibrosis, sure enough that was it. Why it hadn’t been caught years before is still a mystery, possibly Allen had had a false false on his tests as a child and no one else had thought to check because of how active he had been as a child or cystic fibrosis was still not very well known. Either way this diagnoses brought both hope and despair to his family, they finally knew what kept putting their otherwise active child in the hospital but were faced with the reality of an average life expectancy of 37 and a half. Allen was 16.

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Allen actually came into my life as he was turning 22, I met him late one evening when Stephen took me out to play basketball with the boys late one evening in their hometown. Everyone was nice and to be honest Allen or anyone else really didn’t stand out, they were just boys out there having a good time. It wasn’t until I saw Allen next time it became apparent to me just how devastating of a disease he was living with every single day. It was only a few months later when the same group of friends were gathered at Allen’s place to play video games when he looked emaciated and the light that was in his eyes was dimmer than I had ever seen. He had just come back from the hospital and had to lay in bed or sit in a chair to be able to even to just chat. I would go on see Allen the next few months after that and each time he would only be weaker. I also watched the fight slowly slip from my husband as well, each time we would visit Allen it was like a little bit of Stephen would stay behind each time.

The last time I saw Allen he was on the couch of parents home, a puppy pad beneath him and covered in blankets. IVs were in his arm and his wrists were so thin that I could close my fist around them if I had not been afraid to break his bones. That’s as close to death as I had ever been. Stephen and I stayed with Allen about an hour while he drifted in and out of consciousness that day and I knew the only reason he was still here was because God gave him a purpose and Allen refused to give up so easily. Despite being where most would consider the bottom Allen had to prove one more time that God gave him grace and the will to live.

My husband asked me to stay home the last time he went to see his best friend, they needed alone time and I could respect that. An emergency trip was made with Allen’s last wish in hand – the Avenger’s DVD – June 2012. Most of the same group I had met in the beginning was there to watch The Avenger’s with Allen as he was enjoying the last moments of his life. Less than 24 hours later Allen and God had made a truce and Allen’s mission on Earth was completed on June 6, 2012.

Wrap Up:

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I am so blessed to have had a chance to get to know Allen and be able to hike for him and the other 30,000 adults and children who live every day with cystic fibrosis. Not only have I been able to hike under the Foundation I was also given the opportunity to volunteer at the local St. Louis office which has allowed me to meet many CF families and be a part of this fantastic organization so if anyone has any questions go ahead and ask! If I can’t answer your question I am happy to find you someone who can! If anyone is interested in getting involved with your local chapter fine one here, if you feel compelled to give (over 90 cents of your every dollar goes directly to research) click here , or are interested in seeing the list of the events around St. Louis check them out here!

Thank you so much for reading!

The rest of the week:

After my original fitness watch went kaput I did order a Garmin 910XT – heck yes I did! Hopefully it will be in by next Tuesday. (:

Started class this past week (I’m in college) and am excited to see what this semester has in store!

AND my big kid bag of ENERGYbits came in Monday!

Have a great week guys!!

Do you guys have a cause for which you would fundraise $2,500?

Anyone out there with a CF connection who would like to share your story?