The first Princeton, IL cystic fibrosis (CF) walk raised over $13,000 recently, $3,000 more than expected. The Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Walk, held on June 28th, was organized by 28-year-old student Cheriz Kunkel, who was diagnosed with CF when she was a baby.
Kunkel announced that the walk was a major success and a significant contribution to the research and development for a cure for CF. “As a person with CF, I can personally say that I can feel a difference in my health, especially my ability to breathe, thanks to new medications that have been found through research, “ she said. “In fact, in the last two weeks a new medicine combination has been found that will help target an underlying cause for one of the most common mutations for CF,” referring to Vertex Therapeutics’ recent announcement of positive results in its phase 3 trial of Kalydeco in a combination treatment for CF.
“This is why continued fundraising and research is needed to cure CF and help all those afflicted. We really appreciate the community’s support and look forward to next year’s second annual Great Strides Walk for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,” she said.
Kunkel’s goal was to raise $10,000 through the fundraising event with the help of family and friends. However, the 120 participants exceeded expectations. The organization was able to collect more than 30 raffle prizes to offer during the event, as well as more than 25 donations from local businesses. “Lots of people went home with great gifts. I want to thank everyone who sponsored, donated, volunteered and walked with us,” Kunkel said.
The organization announced that the walk was such a success that it will become a permanent annual event at Princeton, for the CF Foundation’s Great Strides Walks, which is already being planned. Plans for the future also include the creation of a website dedicated to the event, so that participants can have better resources as well an online sign-up form and the ability to follow the walk details.
Kunkel has a personal blog, where she shares her personal experience with CF as well as news associated with the disease. She is also engaged in other events with the purpose of raising money to fund CF research.