A fundraising event at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach on Saturday, July 19th attracted more than 800 people and became a record-setting fundraising event for the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation, collecting $1.2 million in donations to help find a cure for the chronic disease. The seventh annual “Pipeline to a Cure” event is included in a campaign that has already raised more than $3.7 million to help find a cure for CF since its start in 2007.
The “Pipeline to a Cure” event was meant not only to raise funds for the cause, but also to celebrate the discovery that children who suffer from the disease and surf have significantly healthier lungs. Inhaling saltwater has the capacity to rehydrate the lining of the lungs, allowing patients to more easily eliminate bacteria-contaminated mucus, according to a study conducted in Australia. The research may lead to the development of hypertonic saline solution for patients to inhale, as well as the recommendation of surfing as a therapeutic complement.
This year’s event also honored the Hennessy Family, who has been engaged in supporting the fight against CF for 27 years. Jerry and Cheri Hennessy became involved with the CF Foundation the day their friend’s daughter Stacey Motenko was diagnosed with the disease, and have been active in numerous other community organizations. A lifelong surfer, Jerry is also a founding member of the Pipeline to a Cure committee.
“The Hennessys have committed to finding a cure for CF for nearly three decades. Their unwavering support for a cause that touches their hearts, but not their family, is testament to their humanity, kindness and giving spirit,” said Paul Motenko, president of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Orange County Chapter.
The ambassador of the evening event was Shelby Klug, a CF patient and 16-year old high school junior, who explained how living with the disease means having constant difficulties in breathing and digesting food, hospital visits, hours of daily treatments, and taking dozens of pills each day. However, she believes that she is more than a CF patient and, for her, “CF stands for chronically fabulous, but one day, with your help, I hope it will stand for Cure Found.”
Green Day drummer Tré Cool presented at the event as well, and offered Klug, who is also an aspiring drummer, a pair of autographed drum sticks. The girl then sang Green Day’s song “Welcome to Paradise,” along with Cool. Several other celebrities also collaborated with the event, including honorary co-chairs Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama, Gabrielle Reece, Olympic gold medalists Jason Lezak and Aaron Peirsol, surf stars Peter “PT” Townend, Jericho Poplar, Mickey Munoz, Reef McIntosh, and Sam August.
Cystic fibrosis affects about 70,000 children and adults throughout the world, 30,000 of which live in the United States, and youngsters with the disease are having an increasingly significant voice in the fight not only to find a cure, but also to improve the quality of life of patients. Beau Rich, a 23-year-old patient who is making a cross-country documentary on having an active lifestyle and living with CF, is another recent example.