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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!

Robert Corti – Matthew’s Warriors

Walk:  Manhattan, NY, walk held June 3, 2012
Chapter: Greater New York Chapter 
Team: Matthew’s Warriors led by Robert Corti, whose grandson Matthew, 2, has CF.
Impact: Raised nearly $110,000

Why I Walk

Robert Corti , pictured holding his grandson, Matthew, 2, who has CF, says he’s at war with the disease.

Robert Corti, pictured holding his grandson, Matthew, 2, who has CF, says he’s at war with the disease. He dreams of a day when every person with cystic fibrosis can live a full, meaningful life.

My grandson, Matthew, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis on November 11, 2010. When I got the call, it was quite a shock. Like most people, I went through the stages of grief: denial, anger, sadness. Then I came to acceptance and that allowed me to do something about it.

I can’t be a scientist finding a cure, so this is what I have to do — raise the money to fund the science. It’s what we all have to do. We don’t have a choice.

We’re doing this not just for our kids, but for all kids with CF. Even if Matthew was blessed to be one of the 4 percent on Kalydeco™, I’d still be doing this walk. We’re at war with this disease.

What Motivates Me

I am so grateful to all of the people who have contributed to this cause. When I first started fundraising, I had no idea how I was going to raise so much money. The thought of picking up the phone and asking for money terrified me, so I decided to send emails instead. 

Within an hour of the first email I sent, I got a contribution. I felt so encouraged. I sent out another wave of emails and more donations came in. Then I sent out a third. Each grouping of emails brought in more donations and before I knew it, we had surpassed our fundraising goal.

One donor in particular really touched me — a woman who I know is struggling financially donated $25 to Matthew’s Warriors when she really couldn’t afford to donate anything. It’s things like that that really motivate me to keep going.

Matthew, 2, was diagnosed with CF via a sweat test. His grandfather says he’s a happy baby who loves to watch planes land and stare at the moon.

My Advice for Other Great Strides Teams

As painful as it is, you have to talk about this disease. People want to help, but they can’t read your mind. You have to educate others about CF, what it is and how they can help.

I would also encourage teams to ask donors if their employers have a matching gift program. These programs are like magic. If an employee donates, their company will sometimes double or triple that donation — but the employee has to ask. As a fundraiser, it’s important to ask people to take this one extra step to see if their company will match their gift. I’ve found that most organizations will.

My Dream

My dream would be that science and research makes CF a condition people can live with. I want everyone with CF to have the ability to live a full, meaningful life. That would be a gift.

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