This feature focuses on 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!
Kristi and David Bowers - Team Kaleb
Walk: Tulsa, Centennial Park, walk held May 12, 2012
Chapter: Sooner Chapter – Tulsa Office
Team: Team Kaleb led by Kristi and David Bowers and their son Kaleb, 12, who has CF, and Hannah, 10.
Impact: Raised more than $23,000 so far in 2012
Why We Walk
Team Kaleb, which has been participating in Great Strides since 2001, raised more than $23,000 and expanded to become a national team in 2012.
Our son Kaleb was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 3 months old. He was having a lot of health problems, so doctors just started running tests. At the time, we had never heard of the disease — we didn’t know anything about it. He was my first born, so it was devastating for our family.
He was diagnosed in March. We learned a lot about CF almost immediately and decided to participate in our first walk months later, in May. For us, it was — and is — all about learning as much as we can about the disease and doing what we can to help. Participating in Great Strides makes our family feel like we’re contributing something instead of just waiting for a cure.
Each year, our team just keeps getting bigger and bigger. At our first walk, it was just a few of us — we even had homemade T-shirts. Now Kaleb is 12, and he invites his whole class to come.
We’ve had so much success raising funds locally that this year we decided to expand our fundraising efforts and form a national team. My sister lives in California and my cousins live in North Carolina, so each of them had a group walk and raised money. It was really fun to expand our walk beyond our own community here in Oklahoma.
Our Biggest Challenge
Kaleb spends 45 minutes to an hour each morning and evening doing breathing treatments and taking medication. The hardest thing is finding and keeping a balance with normalcy in our lives. We have to recognize that CF does change things; you have to miss school for weeks at a time or take off from work.
Our doctor has been really great guiding us through this process. He reminds us not to let CF take control of our lives. Instead of sitting around and allowing CF to control our lives, we still make plans, we still go on vacation as a family. If Kaleb does get sick, we make an adjustment and forge ahead.
How We Help Others
Kaleb Bowers, diagnosed with CF at 3 months old, is now 12 and enjoys playing basketball.
I make it a point to talk about the disease as much as I can. I speak at different CF fundraisers and other local events to try to spread awareness. It’s really important to me that people know what CF is.
I have a blog called “A Little Hope From Oklahoma.” It’s really about our journey with CF and through the blog we’re able to help and connect with others. Knowing that I am helping others affected by CF helps me stay strong for Kaleb and for my family. We’re 12 years down the road with our journey, so I feel like I can give good advice about how to deal with some of the challenges that come with CF.
What We’re Thankful For
The CF community — especially online — is really supportive. That community and Kaleb’s doctor really help us to do everything we can to stay positive. Our church, our school and my relatives are all very supportive, too. I know we couldn’t do what we do without them. We’ve also had a very positive experience with our local CF chapter here in Oklahoma. They always support our fundraisers and give us the resources we need when we need them.
Tips for Other Great Strides Teams
Parents and teams who are just starting can get discouraged if they compare themselves to those who have been fundraising for awhile. It’s important to just focus on doing what you can do that particular year and remember that some years are better than others.
It’s also important to be creative and don’t be afraid of doing a lot of smaller events throughout the year. The small things really do add up.
I encourage anyone affected by CF to share their stories and get involved with the Foundation; that’s what’s going to get people to care about this disease. You’re not just asking for money — you’re putting a face on this disease.
We just really want a cure for CF in Kaleb’s lifetime. We want to see him do all of the things he wants to do: graduate from high school, get married, have a family.
back to top