With Great Strides just around the corner, it's important to highlight the reasons why this event should be a priority for everyone involved in the cystic fibrosis community. I started “striding” in 2011 and have made it a goal to participate every year. Here are the top five reasons why I stride and think others should too:
- The obvious reason -- raising money. Have you ever wondered where the money for the development of new drugs that treat cystic fibrosis comes from? Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's biggest annual fundraiser, with hundreds of walks taking place across the country. The money we raise while walking goes toward supporting the Foundation's mission to finding a cure for all people with CF.
- It's a way to “pay it back and pay it forward.” Being a single income working class guy, I had to swallow my pride and ask for help. Thanks to the assistance provided by the CF Foundation Compass program, I've been able to access CF medications. I look at each dollar I raise as paying back some of the help that I got.
- The people that I meet. Great Strides is my favorite CF Foundation event because of the Foundation employees, volunteers and families that I get to walk with. We truly have some of the best and most dedicated people helping us fight CF.
- Getting the chance to see people with CF. It's hard to connect in person to others with CF because of the risk of passing germs back and forth. Great Strides is important to me because I get to see other people like myself. I know that those people know exactly what I go through each day. It's hard to put it into words, but seeing someone else who knows exactly what it's like to get up at 5:15 a.m. and do treatments before heading off to work is kind of cool. It's also the one day in the year when I don't feel like every set of eyes is on me when I start coughing uncontrollably, with people thinking to themselves, “what's wrong with that guy?” or “he shouldn't be out if he's sick.”
- Lastly, it's fun. At every walk, you'll find food, prizes and the opportunity to spend time with great friends … not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning!