We all need to take an inventory of our many blessings and be thankful for our health. Even if we have some health issues, we must be thankful for the means in which we are able to deal with them.
Christopher Imsdahl, 14, of Woodbury, has become a hero of mine. I have known this youngster for most of his years and it has been mainly because of a health issue that he has met head on. You see, Christopher has cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis (also known as CF or mucoviscidosis) is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder affecting most critically the lungs, and also the pancreas, liver, and intestine. Christopher is the grandson of two dear friends of mine, Dick and Pat LaMere of Forest Lake. His parents are Lisa and Jeff.
I first met Christopher when he was still a toddler, participating in the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk around Lake Calhoun and the Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. On Saturday, I participated with the LaMeres in my 11th Great Strides walk. This particular Twin Cities walk usually draws about 1000 participants and monies raised have exceeded $600,0000.
The CF Great Strides event has been one of the best organized benefits in which I have participated. In past walks, we have carried the banner of Christopher’s Crusaders. There were years when we had over 30 on our team, the team organized by Lisa (LaMere).
I guess it is because we are men and real Minnesota Vikings fans that each year Dick LaMere and I have always looked up the Viking cheerleaders in attendance at the walk and had an annual photo taken. They have been most cordial and agreeable to having their photo taken with a couple of elderly but physically fit men.
Let’s get back to Christopher. Looking at him, you would never know he has a health issue. Because of his family support and his strong determination and also dedicated medical guidance, Christopher has been able to lead a fairly normal life. He is quite an athlete with baseball being one of his favorite sports. He also has gotten tremendous brotherly love from his older brother Nicholas.
It has been a real inspiration to see Christopher and his family participate in the CF Great Strides walk and it has been very rewarding for me to see all of the families supporting their loved ones who are fighting the disease.
Judy and I have also been touched by the bravery of those afflicted with CF. When our daughter Tammi underwent a liver transplant 17 years ago, we were waiting during surgery with a family whose daughter, battling CF, was getting lungs transplanted from the same donor to our daughter. Consider organ donation as a step to giving a miracle to others.
In addition to the Great Strides walk in Minneapolis, walks were held last Saturday (May 5) in Fargo, Rochester and Winona. Walks are scheduled for St. Peter on Saturday, May 12; in Rapid City and St. Cloud on Saturday, May 19; in St. Paul at the State Capitol on Sunday, May 20; in Sioux Falls on Saturday, June 2; in Bismarck, ND on Saturday, June 16 and in Duluth on Saturday, Sept. 15.
Connect with the Minnesota chapter of Cystic Fibrosis at http://www.cff.org/Chapters/minnesota/
At this site, you will be greeted: :”Welcome! Volunteers are the key to our success, and we encourage you to get involved! Whether you join a committee and help get sponsors for an event, recruit companies to put together walk teams or volunteer time in our office, you help us achieve our mission—curing and controlling cystic fibrosis. Take a moment to see what a difference you can make by supporting events throughout the year. Together, we can continue adding tomorrows every day to the lives of people with CF.”
The Minnesota Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation covers Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Hudson, WI.
With the help of committed, local volunteers, the Minnesota Chapter works in these communities to fundraise to support research to ultimately find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Many events are held throughout the year including dinner dances, a golf tournament, community walks, school coin collections, and a stair climb. CF volunteers make these Foundation events such successes.
The Minnesota Chapter encourages volunteers to donate your time to ‘add tomorrows everyday’ for those battling cystic fibrosis. Volunteering opportunities range from stuffing envelopes, to auction item solicitation, to attending events, to event sponsorship. If anyone would like to learn more about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, or would like to volunteer with the Minnesota Chapter, please contact a local CFF representative at (651) 631-3290 or [email protected].
Doing a CF Great Strides walk in May is very appropriate because May is CF Awareness Month. To highlight the growing need for awareness about cystic fibrosis (CF), the CF Foundation recognizes the month of May as National CF Awareness Month. During this time — and all year-round — volunteers and people with CF and their families unite to help shine a spotlight on what CF is and the progress being made toward a cure.
Consider these statistics:
• 30,000 children and adults have CF in the United States.
• More than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of the defective CF gene.
• The disease occurs in one of every 3,500 live births of all Americans and about 1,000 new cases of cystic fibrosis are diagnosed each year.
What You Can Do
During the month of May, you can:
• Walk in Great Strides. More than 100,000 walkers will put their best foot forward this year at more than 600 sites nationwide.
• Be an Advocate for People with Cystic Fibrosis. There are many federal and state issues that affect people with CF. You can help get our collective voice heard by contacting your elected representatives. Check out the CF “Take Action” advocacy page to read about the issues and learn how you can help.
•Download the “Cure CF” iPhone App. Use it to educate potential new volunteers and donors about the mission of the CF Foundation. Download it for free from the iTunes App store. Use social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube.
To find out more information about cystic fibrosis, bookmark the Wikipedia site at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cystic_fibrosis