Cystic fibrosis walk to be held next Saturday

PLATTSBURGH - Hundreds of people in the tri-county area will take to the streets next weekend in an effort to find a cure for a debilitating disease.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides walk is scheduled for next Saturday, May 30, at Melissa L. Penfield Park, one of many such events happening in cities across the United States.

The two- to three-mile walk takes participants around the park and onto Bailey Avenue. Check in is at 9 a.m., with the walk scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Participants may register the day of the event.

There will be a disc jockey present and plenty of activities for children. Following the walk, a picnic lunch will be available for walk participants. Walkers who raise more than $100 will be given a free T-shirt.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that causes the body to produce an unusually thick, sticky mucus affecting the lungs and digestive system. Research supported by the foundation over the past several decades has greatly increased the life expectancy for people with the disease. With proper treatment, many live well into their 40s.

AuSable Forks resident Kim Colby, whose daughter Megan was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 1996 at age 2, has been participating in the Great Strides walk for about eight years. Megan, now 15, has been going for the past two years and plans to attend again this year.

"It's really great," said Kim. "Without the support, progress couldn't be made, and progress is being made with the different treatments becoming available, like gene therapy."

According to Kim, the walk draws between 200-300 people every year, bringing in more than $45,000 for cystic fibrosis research and treatment.

This year's walk features giveaways for participants as well as a raffle. Raffle prizes include a cruise on Lake Champlain, airline tickets to Florida and tickets to a Travis Tritt concert.

Kim noted a few area businesses who are also supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Post-ups can be purchased at Butcher Block and Grand Union; Mangia Restaurant is also doing a special fundraiser.

Those who can't make it to the Great Strides walk but still want to donate to the cause may make a contribution on-line at www.cff.org or send a check in care of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to Kim Colby, 291 Stickney Bridge Road, Jay N.Y. 12941.

For more information on the Great Strides walk, contact Whitney Hill at 783-7361.

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