Employees and friends of Beasley Allen will help lead the charge against cystic fibrosis on May 18 by participating in “Great Strides: Taking Steps to Cure Cystic Fibrosis,” the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest national fund-raising event. Locally, the awareness and fundraising walk event will be held at the Montgomery Zoo.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disease affecting about 30,000 people in the United States. Additionally, about 10 million more people – about 1 in every 31 Americans – are carriers of the disease. Diagnosis usually is made by age 2.

People affected by CF suffer from a buildup of mucus that clogs some of the organs in the body, especially the lungs and pancreas. Breathing can be very difficult, and people affected by CF are susceptible to bacteria that cause inflammation and infections leading to lung damage. Additionally, CF can stop digestive enzymes from getting to the intestines, which can cause poor nutrition and affect growth.

In 1955, children with cystic fibrosis were not expected to live long enough to attend first grade. Thanks to advances in research and treatment, many children today have the chance to live long and full lives. In fact, for the first time in the history of the disease, many people with CF are now living into adulthood-more than 40 percent of people with CF in the United States are age 18 or older.

Today, the median survival age for those with CF is 36.5 years. Currently, there is no cure for cystic fibrosis. Most of those with CF must take daily pancreatic enzyme supplements, multi-vitamins, and aerosolized medicines, and do some form of airway clearance every day.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation works as fast as possible and funds some of the best and brightest minds in science to find a cure. Because CF researchers are blazing new trails in drug development and gene therapy, experts have no way of saying for sure when a cure will be available.

You can help! Each year, thousands of people enlist sponsors and participate in a fun walk to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for CF. In 2007, the walk event raised more than $34 million!

Montgomery’s walk is set for Sunday, May 18, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Montgomery Zoo. Join a team, or become a team leader, and help us give children and adults with CF the quality of life and future they deserve. To participate, contact Renee Lindsey at Beasley Allen, at 334-269-2343 or 800-898-2034, or email Renee.Lindsey@BeasleyAllen.com.

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