BANGOR – Cystic fibrosis is on the rise and to raise awareness about this disorder, community members gathered at the waterfront in hopes of ending the disease.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the lives of 30,000 Americans. 75 percent of those are diagnosed by the age of two.
One participant and father, Stephen Mills said “It was the most devastating news in my life… We’re coping with it now… Keep moving on… It’s all you can do really.”
This life-threatening disease damages the lungs and other vital organs. It causes mucus and other body fluids to become thick and sticky, blocking up passageways.
Those living with it say it’s like breathing through a straw and daily treatments are a must when dealing with this disorder.
Carter Blanche lives with cystic fibrosis, and he said “We need to raise all this money for finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.”
While there’s no cure for the disease, close to 200 people gathered for the “Annual Great Strides Walk.” A national campaign dedicated to finding a cure and raising awareness about this disorder.
“We help raise money to find to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis.” said Hazel LeClerc, who also lives with cystic fibrosis.
This event brings those with similar life experiences together.
Organizer Stephanie LeClerc said “It kind of got us through that emotional hump of accepting the diagnoses and moving on from it.”
Those living with this disease can be seen wearing masks, that’s because they are more susceptible to getting sick. And when they do, it can bring forth life threatening complications.
One participant Mitchell Currier said “I have friends who are affected by this, it’s such a tragic thing. It can end their lives and it’s really sad. So I want to support them whenever I can.”
Over $20,000 were raised, with more donations still coming in. This is the first year that this fundraiser in Bangor exceeded that amount on the same day of the event.