While many McDuffie Countians are preparing to walk in May to find a cure for cancer, a Boneville woman is walking to find a cure for another disease.
Lisa Kicklighter will walk in the "Great Strides" event to raise money and awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on Saturday, April 25, at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Columbia County.
Two of Ms. Kicklighter's seven children have Cystic Fibrosis - 17-year-old Tyler and 10-year-old Destiny. Ms. Kicklighter said she has been walking in Great Strides for about six years, and both Tyler and Destiny "love it."
"They have it (CF), so they know how it affects people," she said. "So, they know how important it is to walk to help raise funds to come up with a cure."
Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs, pancreas, liver and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States, according to the foundation's website. Ms. Kicklighter said people with CF have a shortened life span and desperately want to find a cure for their disease.
Life with CF for Tyler and Destiny "has been rough," Ms. Kicklighter said, but "they both have been blessed" because they are doing well. If they don't get sick, they only go in the hospital about twice a year, "for what we call a tune up," she said.
However, the daily routine is a little more taxing. Currently, Tyler needs four treatments a day because he has a cold. Destiny is on three daily treatments. Each treatment takes 45-minutes to one hour, and involves them wearing a vest that shakes their body to break up the mucus that builds up in their lungs. Before they were large enough to fit into the vest, Ms. Kicklighter had to perform the treatments herself, by percussion to their chest with her hand several times a day. Antibiotics also are used to prevent infections.
The treatments for CF continues throughout a patient's life, and are aimed at maximizing organ function, thus limiting organ damage. In the 1950s, infants diagnosed with CF did not live long enough to attend elementary school. Since the CF Foundation was formed in 1955, the life expectancy has grown to 37 years.
"My goal is to find a cure," Ms. Kicklighter said. "And to keep my children healthy and for them to have as normal a life as possible. €¦ I tell my kids there's nothing they can't do. €¦ We have a positive attitude. But, of course, I worry, because something as simple as a cold can put them in the hospital."
The statewide goal for Great Strides is to raise $1.2 million, according to Ms. Kicklighter. She said her personal commitment is to raise $2,000.
"I am asking people to help me meet and exceed this goal by making a generous donation that will support the research and care program for the CF Foundation, and help find a cure for Tyler and Destiny," she said in an email. "Any amount that you can donate will be greatly appreciated, and all contributions are 100 percent tax deductible."
The walk begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 25. The event will include games and activities for children, a radio station playing music and catered meals.
"We have a lot of fun," Ms. Kicklighter said. "I like to go because I get to meet other parents who have kids with CF."
For more information, or to make a donation, visit Ms. Kicklighter's webpage at http://www.cff.org/great_strides/LisaKicklighter.