Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease affecting approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States. The ravaging effects of CF eventually lead to chronic and fatal lung infections. If you are an organ donor, your lungs may one day help a CF patient live longer. The median life expectancy for a person with CF is 37 years. A victim may at times be the picture of health; but, will decline as the disease progresses. One in 31 Americans is an unknowing, symptom-less carrier of the defective gene, which means 10 million people may pass the disease on to their children.
CF causes the body to produce an abnormally thick, sticky mucus due to the faulty transport of sodium and chloride (salt) within cells lining organs such as the lungs and pancreas to their outer surfaces. The thick CF mucus also obstructs the pancreas, preventing enzymes from reaching the intestines to help break down and digest food. Treatment depends upon the stage of the disease and which organs are involved. Chest physical therapy helps break up congestion and is part of daily life for a CF patient. Antibiotics are used to treat lung infections. CF usually affects the digestive system and the body does not absorb enough nutrients. Therefore, people with CF may need to eat an enriched diet and take both replacement vitamins and enzymes.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) was established to assure the development of the means to cure and control CF and improve the quality of life for those with the disease. Click here to go to The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website. Since the defective CF gene was discovered in 1989, the pace of research has greatly accelerated. In 1997, the FDA approved the drug TOBI (tobramycin solution for inhalation), which improves lung function and reduces the number of hospital stays. In April 2002 the first human clinical trials of a new type of gene therapy began. And, in April 2003, the CFF announced completion of phase one of that promising therapy. If perfected, this would lead toward a cure for CF!
The Wall Street Journal's Smart Money Magazine lists the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as the Number 1 best charity to donate your money to in the Health - Research category! With 96% of all Great Strides donations going directly to CF research, your contributions to these fund-raisers really make a difference! Please support CFF and Great Strides events any way you can.
Fallon's simple statement about how she feels about cystic fibrosis, written years ago, is still brutally true. This sentiment is shared by all who know and love her and her younger sister Faith.