Increasingly in the cystic fibrosis community, fundraising walking and running events have become a popular, effective means of raising awareness about the disease and supporting ongoing research efforts to bolster drug development for next-generation CF treatments. No other group has utilized this sort of fundraising event better than the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, who last weekend launched Great Strides — the organization’s largest national fundraiser.
Far from being just a one-off event, the Great Strides fundraiser features a total of 500 walks throughout the year, with 200 of the total having taken place last Saturday and Sunday. Since May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness month, the weekend kick-off for Great Strides is perfect positioned to make an impression in communities and raise much-needed funding for CF research.
Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the CF Foundation, explained how the success of the event is based entirely on the personal commitment of each individual: “Every walker brings hope and a commitment to continued progress,” he said. “The CF Foundation is fighting on all fronts to find a cure and help people with CF live longer and better lives. Every dollar raised in Great Strides brings us closer to this goal.”
The list of national sponsors joining the 2014 Great Strides effort in addition to the CFF are AbbVie and Walgreens — who are listed as premium sponsors — followed by American Airlines, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Novartis and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Many of the names on this list are among the most fervent supporters of Cystic Fibrosis awareness, and are working to develop new therapies.
While fundraising events like Great Strides are administrated at the local level, the effort itself is national in scope, and expects to raise major funding for CF research. This year, the event is expected to raise $43 million. Although the funding is used for investing in the cystic fibrosis drug development pipeline, monies are also appropriated to helping people and families in need who are dealing with the disease through care programs and enhanced advocacy and support.
To help fight CF, participate in your local Great Strides walk by calling 1-800-FIGHT-CF or by visiting http://greatstrides.cff.org.