Each month through the end of the year, we’ll feature a special person or team who played an integral role in the 2012 Great Strides walks. We hope you’ll find this story to be inspiring as we continue to make Great Strides in our efforts to find a cure for CF!
Tory and Jodi Needham - Truckin' for Tucker
Walk: Wisconsin Dells, Wis., walk held May 5, 2012
Chapter: Wisconsin Chapter – Madison Branch
Team: Truckin’ for Tucker led by Tory and Jodi Needham, their son Tucker, 10, who has CF, and their daughter Macey, 7.
Impact: Raised more than $70,000 so far in 2012
Why we Walk
Our son Tucker, who’s now 10, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis through newborn screening. At the time, we were completely devastated and shocked — we didn’t know the slightest bit about the disease and weren’t aware of any family history of CF.
Pictured here with parents Tory and Jodi and sister Macey, Tucker is not only an inspiration to everyone in his small town of Wonewoc, Wisconsin, but also to those in his parents hometown, Fennimore.
For the first year following Tucker’s diagnosis, we took time to cope with the fact that our little boy was not healthy and to adjust to caring for a child with a life-threatening disease.
Gradually, we began to accept that Tucker has CF and when he was 1 year old, we created our Great Strides team, Truckin’ for Tucker. We knew that if we wanted to see a cure in Tucker’s lifetime, we needed to push ourselves to do everything we possibly could to raise money to fund the critical CF research.
We found ourselves overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity and raised more than $10,000 in our first year. With added hope and determination, we set our sights even higher for the next year and have continued to keep that momentum.
What Makes us Proud
Tucker is a laid-back kid who loves sports, hanging out with his friends and just enjoying life. He never lets CF get him down and lives each day to the fullest.
Recently he’s been taking responsibility when it comes to his care, which has been such a blessing. We’re so proud when we see him doing his own daily treatments: getting his pills together, starting the Vest himself and putting his treatments in the correct nebulizers. He’s completely compliant and never fusses. We feel very lucky.
When we see him growing up and doing so well, it reminds us of when he was diagnosed with CF. The doctor who shared the diagnosis with us said that Tucker would fail to thrive and likely not live a full life. We often think about going back to her and saying, “Look at him. He’s not. He’s proving you wrong.”
Tips for Other Great Strides Teams
Tucker, 10, who has CF, loves sports and is learning to take responsibility when it comes to his daily CF care. “He just enjoys life and never lets CF get him down,” says mom Jodi. “He lives each day to the fullest.”
We’re from a small town of only 900 people, so we’ve learned to approach our fundraising from many different angles. This year we did a letter writing campaign to inform people about CF, tell them how it’s affected our family and give them an in-depth look at Tucker’s everyday routine. This had a big impact because a lot of our friends and extended family didn’t know everything that living with cystic fibrosis involves, so it touched them.
We also raised money through our local school. Year after year the students and teachers get together to form their teams and raise money for us; so this year we held a contest to get everyone extra motivated. Every student who raised more than $100 was put in the running for an iPod touch. The contest was a great way to give the kids something to strive towards.
However, perhaps our most popular fundraising avenue is the golf tournament that we’ve been hosting for the past eight years, Teein’ it up for Tucker. Held at our local golf course, we hosted more than 200 golfers (friends, family and even complete strangers that have been touched by Tucker’s story!) who gather for the golf outing, live and silent auction, and raffle. This year’s tournament raised more than $20,000 for the fight against CF, so if you can create something like that it is well worth it.
We’re most thankful to have such wonderful family and friends that support us. Our amazing support network truly makes the journey easier to travel, and we can’t thank everyone enough. We’re also thankful for all of the progress that the CF Foundation has made, and for all of the major advancements in CF research and care that are surely on the horizon.
Our dream is for a cure to be found in Tucker’s lifetime so he’ll never again have to take time out of his day to do treatments and he can live without the added stress that CF brings.
back to top