In the Spotlight

The Colasuonno Family 

In the Spotlight - Joseph Colasuonno
Joseph, age 15, is able to receive the CF medications he needs to stay healthy, thanks to the CF Patient Assistance Foundation. 
When 15-year-old Joseph Colasuonno was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis earlier this year, he and his dad Jim had to adjust to a whole new way of life that included daily inhaled treatments and medications, a change of diet, and even getting rid of the household’s wood-burning stove.

Another big change for Jim was handling the sudden expense of CF medications, a hefty financial burden worsened by a recent job loss and divorce.

“Joseph started getting really sick with breathing and digestive problems in December 2010 at age 14,” Jim remembers. “Between then and now, we went through about $15,000 in medical costs.”

Jim saw the dramatic turnaround Joseph experienced when he started receiving treatment for CF, and he knew he needed help to make sure Joseph’s health continued to improve.

Getting Help to Pay for Critical Medications

To ease the financial burden of the disease, the staff at Joseph’s CF clinic pointed Jim toward the Cystic Fibrosis Patient Assistance Foundation (CFPAF), a nonprofit subsidiary of the CF Foundation that helps patients and their families tap into available resources from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

“Being brought up in a military family, it’s hard for me to ask for assistance,” says Jim, who is a former marine. “But when I began spending that kind of money, I realized there really was nowhere else to turn.”

The process of applying for assistance was easy — a phone call, followed by some paperwork — and Jim was approved within 10 days. The Colasuonno family currently receives about $2,000 of assistance for Creon and Pulmozyme each month through the CFPAF.

About the CFPAF
Launched in 2008, the Cystic Fibrosis Patient Assistance Foundation is a nonprofit subsidiary of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation that helps patients and their families living with cystic fibrosis afford the medications and devices they need to manage CF complications. CFPAF staff members can help families cut through complex insurance and legal issues, directing them to additional organizations and programs when needed.

For more information about CFPAF, visit or call 1-888-315-4154.

“I feel so fortunate and grateful for getting into the program and receiving this assistance,” Jim says. “Without the CFPAF, I wouldn’t have anywhere else to go for help. Joseph can have a future because of this program. “

A Family Moves Forward

Today, nearly a year after his diagnosis, Joseph has gained 40 pounds and is feeling better. He spends his free time training his German shepherd and BMX biking, and he looks forward to snowboarding this winter. “The CF diagnosis has been a big change for him, but he’s adjusting his life and he has a good attitude,” Jim says.  “I’m very proud of him.”

Grateful for the relief provided by the CFPAF, Jim hopes that by sharing his story, other families in need of assistance will apply for help. “My experience working with everyone at CFPAF was very positive,” Jim says. “How do you say ‘thank you’ to someone who has helped save your child’s life?”

Posted 10/26/2011

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