I'm running my first half marathon on January 12, 2013 and raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in memory of my friend Katie.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:
- clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
- obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
Katie Michel was a remarkable woman who lived with this disease. She never used it as a crutch or an excuse for anything. She was so full of life and could always bring a smile to anyone's face. I am so thankful that we were friends in high school and I got the chance to know such an amazing person.
During college we drifted apart, like most friends do. I regret not doing a better job of staying in touch. Maybe I just always thought that she would be there. She had a spunky and feisty spirit and I could never imagine her not battling through and overcoming like she always had. After two double lung transplants, Katie passed away in July 2007.
I remember getting the phone call from my mom. I was doing my internship at ESPN between my first and second year of grad school. I was living in Connecticut for the summer with no familiar faces around me. I felt sad and lost. Unfortunately I was unable to make it back for Katie's funeral. I still wish I could have been.
Every time I get the chance to donate, run a race or volunteer for Cystic Fibrosis, I take it! The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is not on the list of charities that Disney is teamed up with. I want to run for CF and raise money for a good cause in memory of my friend Katie.
Please take the time to donate to my cause and help find a cure so that people like Katie can continue to live full and healthy lives.
Here is an article about Katie and her family from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2007.