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Volunteers Lead the Fight Against CF

Alex Award 
Beth Sufian, with her daughter Isabella and husband
Jim, accepts the Alex Award from Frank Deford.

March 13, 2007

“The only difference between where you are right now and where you’ll be next year is the people you meet,” said Amy Brindley, the executive director at the North Carolina Chapter's Charlotte Office, to a crowd of CF Foundation volunteers and staff at the annual Volunteer Leadership Initiative (VLI) meeting. “And that means you’ll all be better off!”

Brindley’s enthusiastic words captured the spirit of the VLI, which aims to bring as many new volunteers as possible to the CF effort.   

On the weekend of March 9 and 10, 250 key leadership volunteers gathered in Falls Church, Va., to share ideas about how to inspire the next generation of volunteers to step up and lead the charge. They discussed ways to enhance chapters’ VLI committees and retain current volunteers, as well as ways to improve the success of their Great Strides walks and dinner dances.

In addition to strategizing ways to expand the Foundation’s volunteer recruitment efforts, the meeting recognized some of the individuals and corporations from around the country whose support has made a difference for those with CF.

VLI Chair John Smith (also from the North Carolina Chapter's Charlotte Office) recounted the story of his nephew Matthew, 26, who had a double-lung transplant a few years ago. Today, Matthew is a college graduate, is married and has a fulfilling job. “It’s because of the funds that we’ve raised that he is able to have a life like that.” This was one of many success stories across the nation proving the positive impact the Foundation’s 250,000 volunteers are having on the lives of those with CF.

“Our dedicated volunteers are changing the course of this disease,” said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Foundation. “We cannot thank them enough for all that they do to support our mission.”

During the awards ceremony, Beth Sufian, a lawyer with CF dedicated to advocating on behalf of other people with the disease, received the highly coveted “Alex Award,” established by Frank Deford, chairman emeritus of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, in memory of his daughter Alex, who lost her fight with CF at age eight.

Airgas Puritan Medical, Altus Pharmaceuticals, Foresters, Wal-Mart, BJ’s Restaurants and Solvay Pharmaceuticals were also recognized for their commitment to the Foundation and dedication to advancing CF research.

“Every year, I come to this meeting and see new faces and hear new ideas,” said Amy Barry, CF mother and the national leadership council chair. “It truly rejuvenates my passion and commitment to finding a cure for CF.”


The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.