Urging Campbell Riverites to take part in the Great Strides Walk for cystic fibrosis are (from left) Jim Costain of Dairy Queen

Help Canadians struggling to breathe

Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults

Cassandra McInnes begins and ends every day by doing several hours of demanding physical and inhalation therapy to help clear her lungs and airways of the tenacious secretions that can make breathing difficult.

As well, she takes many different medications to help her digest her food and improve her nutritional status.  It is essential that she include daily exercise in her regime and dances, walks her dogs and has recently taken up horseback riding. McInnes has been doing the necessary treatments since she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of eight months.  She has grown up not knowing any different – dealing with CF has become a way of life for McInnes and her family.  She lives in Gold River with her family and must travel to Vancouver for specialized care at the CF Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital at least every three months and has had to stay in the hospital for intensive treatment with IV antibiotics a few times.

McIinnes said  “I mean there are times when I forget I have Cystic Fibrosis. I know it affects the people around me more than I realize. This is something I live with everyday I can’t hide from it. I find I need to live in the moment and what happens, happens. I don’t like to think about my CF.”

Currently, there is no cure for Canadians with cystic fibrosis. Each week in Canada, two children are diagnosed and one person dies from this disease.

McInnes is inviting everyone to join in the Great Strides walk on Sunday, May 26. The walk will take place at Penfield School in Campbell River with registration beginning at 10:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 11 a.m.

Walk organizer Krista Houston would like people to know it is a very family friendly walk.  People can get all the details and register on line at www.cysticfibrosis.ca/greatstrides.

Houston said, “a special thanks to Dairy Queen Owner Jim Costain who has donated hamburgers and hotdogs for the barbecue and ice cream.”

Barbecuing will be done by Kinsmen Club members. Other sponsors include Marine Harvest, Capacity Forest Management, Thrifty Foods, Quinsam Coal, Bounce-A-Rama Rentals and All in One Party Shop. Houston also welcomes a new team of walkers this year from Walmart who have planned some extra fund raisers in support of the Great Strides Walk.

Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults.

It is a multi-system disease that mainly affects the lungs and the digestive system. Most deaths related to cystic fibrosis are due to lung disease. Severe respiratory problems result from a build-up of thick mucus in the lungs of CF patients, where the effects are most devastating. Mucus and protein also build up in the digestive tract, making it difficult to digest and absorb nutrients from food. There are 4,000 Canadians living with cystic fibrosis.

The fund raised from the Great Strides Walk will support vital CF research and clinical care.

McGinnes said, “I am so grateful to everyone who is supporting Great Strides.  It means so much to know people care and want to help.”

You can help by participating in or supporting the Great Strides Walk  – taking strides so those who fight CF everyday know that someone is in their corner.  We know it is not going to be one big step to find a cure but all of us taking little steps- together.

For more information about Cystic Fibrosis and how you can donate or participate in an event, visit our website at www.crcf.ca.