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!
Rebecca Dixon – Team UltraViolet
Walk: Dallas, Texas, walk held May 19, 2012
Chapter: Northeast Texas Chapter
Team: Team UltraViolet led by Rebecca and Kirk Dixon, their daughter, Violet, 7, who has CF, and sons Jake, 10, and Owen, 8
Impact: Raised more than $61,000 so far in 2012
Why I Walk
Our daughter Violet was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 15 months old, in 2006. My husband Kirk and I had heard of CF, but we had no idea what it would mean for Violet. She was hospitalized immediately after her diagnosis. For two weeks, we were fully immersed in the new world of CF. It was very scary, but also a blessing in disguise — it was “on the job training” for dealing with this disease.
That very next year we did our first Great Strides walk. Even though we wish CF wasn’t a part of our lives, it’s brought us so many positive things — and the Great Strides walk is one of those things.
Violet, 7, who has CF, is getting ready to enter the 2nd grade. She loves animals and plans to be a vet. “She’s very much a leader,” says mom Rebecca Dixon. “With two older brothers, she had to learn very quickly to keep up and keep going.”
My husband and I are both in bands, and that gave us a unique opportunity to do something special. We put on a rock show at Club Dada in Dallas to raise money for Team UltraViolet, and we’ve done it every year since.
What Makes Me Proud
CF gets in Violet’s way, but it never holds her back. She doesn’t use it as an excuse, and I’m just so proud of
how she handles it all.
This August, Violet reached her goal
of staying out of the hospital for one year. She’s been a big part of keeping herself well — doing extra treatments, sometimes up to four times a day, taking her antibiotics and practicing her breathing to build up her lungs.
As she gets older, I’m really proud that she listens and understands how many lives she can touch and make better because she actively participates in fundraising and lets us share her story. It’s not just about us raising money for her — she realizes that this is her fight, too, for everyone who shares the same struggles that she does.
My Biggest Challenge
My biggest challenge is trying to keep up with “normal life” and fitting all the things in that we need to, like Violet’s treatments. On a typical day, she does them twice and takes pills throughout the day, totaling about two hours of time. Plus, she receives about 1,000 calories and 48 grams of fat from a feeding tube while she sleeps.
It’s also a challenge when we’re faced with hard decisions, like when Violet is invited to birthday parties held at a place with a lot of kids and a lot of germs. We just have to make the best decisions we can.
Local artist and photographer Ange Fitzgerald came to our first rock show and said, “I want to be a part of it.” From our second year on, Ange has organized an art auction to raise money for CF — she just takes off and runs with it on her own, and it’s an amazing gift she has given to us. It’s a lot of work, and we would never ask Ange to do it, but we appreciate it with all our hearts.
Ange also connected us with a new friend, Taylor Hatfield, whom we call our “guardian angel.” Taylor had no personal connection to CF or our family, but Violet’s story touched her and she is now one of our biggest supporters and fundraisers.
We are also grateful to have our dear friend John Vineyard as part of our team. He is like a member of our family and flies out from California every year to perform at our UltraViolet Rock Show, and designs all of our promotional materials. Violet’s grandparents, Cathy and Dennis Parks, and her aunt and uncle Kimberlee and Tony Edwards also act as strong leaders of Team UltraViolet – they are a really big help!
Tips for Other Great Strides Teams
We encourage our team members to be creative in their fundraising efforts — it doesn’t have to be about how much money they can donate personally. For example, one of our friends is a chef, and he auctions off a dinner. Another friend, who is the drummer in my band, is a cosmetologist, and this year she offered a hair, make-up and photography package that raised $400. Others chip in when they see we’re close to reaching a fundraising milestone, like an artist who will donate a painting to the person whose donation pushes us over the line. Our local music and artistic community really gets involved.
Form a Great Strides walk team today!
People with CF need to do so much, just to keep from getting sick. The inhaled medicines, the mechanical vest, the pills, the breathing treatments — they don’t do these things just when they are sick. They do them every day. My dream is for Violet to someday have freedom from that.