Walk gets CF research 1 step closer to cure

Walk gets CF research 1 step closer to cure

Over the years the CF Great Strides Walks have brought together those who are passionate about helping people with CF gain ground in creating healthier lifestyles. All of the proceeds from the walks go directly to CF research that focuses on enhancing new drugs.


One step at a time, those determined to eliminate cystic fibrosis are giving their all to make sure that one day all CF patients can celebrate.

The Holmes County Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides walk merged with the Wooster Great Strides Walk to create the first Wayne-Holmes Great Strides Walk, which took place May 15 at Hewitt Cowles Pavilion in Wooster.

While Holmes County’s walk had taken place for the past 22 years, Northern Ohio Chapter development director Samantha Basile Lewis said it was time to bring the two walks together.

“With the way things have been restructured within the organization over the past couple of years, we don’t have the staff to cover individual areas, so the combining of bordering events made a lot of sense,” Basile Lewis said. “That’s something we’ve seen taking place across the state because it makes better use of our resources.”

She said with new drugs coming on the market through research and many steps taking place that improve the quality of life for those with CF, the Great Strides walks continue to be a critical part of the fundraising effort.

“Events like this prove that our motto, ‘stronger together,’ is very true,” Basile Lewis said.

Combining the Wayne and Holmes County Great Strides Walks didn’t deter the walkers who raised money and turned out to walk during the event that kicked off at noon. The trail at Hewitt Cowles Pavilion was littered with walkers, and there was even a special guest appearance by Darth Vader of “Star Wars” fame, who greeted walkers, not with a soul-pinching finger squeeze, but with an attitude of gratitude.

“I think everyone had a really great time, and it was nice to see all those people come out in support of the CF Foundation’s efforts to find a cure,” Basile Lewis said.

One of the greatest things about these Great Strides Walks is every penny raised goes directly toward developing experimental drugs that get the foundation one step closer to finding a cure.

Close to 100 participants hit the nearly 1-mile trail in their fundraising effort.

For walkers and teams, they walk for people whose lives have been turned upside down because of CF. They walk in the hope that the money will put CF to bed once and for all. All of them believe the cure is right around the corner.

According to Basile Lewis, the newest trial drug is Trikafta, a drug that has made huge advancements in stepping toward a cure.

“It’s been an exciting new drug that has helped a lot of people,” Basile Lewis said. “Almost 90% of people with CF can take the drug, and we’ve seen incredible improvements in the health of those taking it.”

Basile Lewis said last summer Trikafta was released to use on children as young as 6 years old. She said every time they create a drug that can be used by younger children, it greatly improves their chances of living longer, happier and healthier lives.

“Just like our Great Strides events, each step we make in research is a huge step in the right direction,” Basile Lewis said.

Anyone who would like to donate to the effort to cure CF can do so. To give, people can donate directly on the CF Foundation Northern Ohio Chapter Wayne-Holmes fundraising page at www.cff.org/chapters/northern-ohio-chapter or send checks to CF Northern Ohio Chapter at 425 Literary Road, Suite 100, Cleveland, OH 44113.

Great Strides is the largest national fundraising campaign of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. CF is a progressive genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.

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