Cystic fibrosis walk raises awareness and funds
The Los Angeles chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation hosted a three-mile walk Saturday in Santa Barbara to raise funds and awareness.
A large crowd showed up for the Great Strides Santa Barbara walk at Chase Palm Park. Proceeds from the event will help those with cystic fibrosis — a progressive, genetic disease that affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs.
According to the Great Strides Santa Barbara website, $22,069 has been raised. The goal is $45,000, and donations are still being accepted. (See the FYI box.)
There were at least 75 walkers on Saturday, said Ronny Martin, respiratory care practitioner at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Department.
“We got there first thing in the morning. Everybody was walking around looking at booths and mingling,” Mr. Martin told the News-Press. “They had probably six to eight tables of donations from stores or (home-made) items. I make oxygen tank chimes out of bells.”
The event featured a silent auction, and supporters submitted their final bids after the walk. Various vendors operated booths, most of which were related to cystic fibrosis.
In 2021, the CF Foundation invested more than $253 million in research and care for people with the disease. This year, the Los Angeles chapter hopes to raise $45,000 through Great Strides to help advance its mission to find a cure and empower all people with CF to live long, fulfilling lives.
“The CF community is like one big family,” Mr. Martin said. “It’s really like a family compared to where it came from in the ’70s.”
“With new modulator therapy drugs, the life range is now in the 50s,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest communities of research coming together. New drugs keep pushing the life expectancy longer and longer. It’s a pretty strong community.”
Since the inception of Great Strides Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles chapter has worked closely with Dr. Richard Belkin, who is the medical director of Cottage Health’s CF program. Dr. Belkin was the event chair for Great Strides Santa Barbara, and both he and the Cottage Health team have played pivotal roles in raising awareness and supporting the CF community over the years.
Mr. Martin stressed the importance of getting the word out that there is a community in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties for people with cystic fibrosis, a congenital disease.
“It would be nice to let people know, who don’t realize that the CF community is here and everywhere,” Mr. Martin said. “People don’t know because they may not know someone who has it. It would be nice that more people knew about it.
“It’s nice to know people get involved even if they don’t know someone who has it. You are trying to save a kid, to (help a kid) have a longer life.”
To donate to Great Strides Santa Barbara, go to fightcf.cff.org/site/TR/GreatStrides/120_Southern_California_Los_Angeles?pg=entry&fr_id=9029.