Vive et Ama - Live and Love

Help sponsor Stephanie and Christopher Curran to walk for Cystic Fibrosis research

A very dear friend of ours, Paul Underhill, sent an email a few weeks ago to engage everyone he knows for support. “Since I turned 40 this year (!), I am trying to give back to the organization that is largely responsible for me still being alive. Given the special year, I am attempting (with your help) to raise $40,000!!!”

Paul has Cystic Fibrosis, the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults.  He is one of the lucky ones.  Most of the friends with CF that Paul has met did not live to see their 30th birthday.  "In fact, of the thirty or so friends with CF I've met over the years, I can count on one hand those who are still alive"

As it says on Paul's sponsorship page for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF) “We want to raise $40,000 to help kids with CF grow up without, you know, dying.  It's a special privilege we've had, let's help some kids breathe a little easier, eh?  Vive et Ama is the Underhill family motto, and has been chosen as the ultimate reason for this event – to allow people with CF to Live and Love for as long as possible!  And research dollars do work.  In 1960, most children with cystic fibrosis did not live long enough to attend kindergarten; today half of all Canadians with CF are expected to live in to their 40's, and beyond.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Paul for the last nine years and we came to know one another through our fellow windsurfing and kiting community.  The photo shown here of Paul doing what he loves most, always brings a smile to my face.  The last day that Paul kited, I was on the beach as he barely made it back to shore.  He was completely out of breath and I held his hand and stroked his back as he coughed and coughed and gasped for air.  These days, just walking is a significant exertion.  We stroll slowly with lots of breaks and he monitors his heart rate and oxygen levels frequently.  His doctors tell him he should drag along an oxygen tank with him where ever he goes but he is delightfully stubborn and insists on walking normally for as long as he can.  Eight hours of each day are dedicated to taking his medications and caring for his health.

All this can sound heavy and hard, and yet Paul is one of the most positive, passionate and up beat guys you’ll ever meet.  He is fully engaged in living and being present to all the blessings and joy that life has to offer.  Paul has a very big place in many peoples’ hearts for exactly this reason and I feel blessed to have him as one of my very dear friends.

In support of Paul's fundraising efforts for CF, the Elements of Health Centre will donate 1% of profits during the month of May to team Vive et Ama.  My husband Chris and I would also like to invite you to  sponsor us as we walk to raise money for the CCFF on May 30, 2010 and to help our friend Paul achieve his goal!  Donations of any size are welcome and most appreciated. 

Thank you for your support!
Stephanie Curran


***If you have a few more moments to read, I’ll share a bit more from Paul’s email asking for help with his fundraising goal….Many of you are familiar with Eva of 65 Red Roses (check out the trailer if you haven't seen the movie). She is an inspiration to me, and she died yesterday. It's too late for her, and realistically, for me. But to help the kids of today so they don't have to face the trials that Eva has - that is the real reason behind my drive to fundraise for Great Strides this year. I thought sharing this with you might help you (and those you email for fundraising) to understand. For further info, read this article or for the best understanding, check out Eva's blog. For an idea of what it's like to die from CF, check out her March 16 blog.

***And here are a few more facts to share…..

  • It is estimated that one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has cystic fibrosis.  As young children learning to speak, they learn how to pronounce their fatal disease by saying “65 roses”.   Approximately 3,500 Canadian children, adolescents, and adults with cystic fibrosis attend specialized CF clinics.

  •  Cystic fibrosis causes a build-up of thick mucus in the lungs leading to severe respiratory problems. Meanwhile, mucus and protein build-up in the digestive tract results in extreme difficulty in digesting and absorbing adequate nutrients from food. The effects of cystic fibrosis are most devastating in the lungs. Ultimately, most CF deaths are due to lung disease. Currently, there is no cure for CF. 

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