The Great Strides event, a fundraiser associated with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, has become the largest national fundraiser advocating for cystic fibrosis (CF), held through monthly initiatives and with the support of families, donors, and friends. This month, those honored by the event are Jen and Justin Grady, also known as Team Superman.
Team Superman, from the Connecticut Chapter, is comprised of the couple, their five-year-old son, Clark, who suffers from CF, and their two-year-old Ella. The team organized a walk last May, and has already raised $105,000.
“My son Clark was diagnosed with CF when he was 9 days old. Besides loving him, the best way I can help him is to support the search for a cure. Great Strides allows us to show a positive, outward presence and involve the community in the Foundation’s mission,” the couple explains. “We tell everyone that this is no longer just about Clark — it’s about all people with CF. That means we will not stop until everyone’s dream — a cure for this disease — has been realized.”
Ever year, Team Superman organizes a wine and beer tasting to help fundraise for CF, in which they offer 200 wines and 50 micro brews, as well as a large silent auction and raffle for about 150 items. While the first year raised $30,000, and the second year $34,000, this year, the team established a new goal and made changes that enabled them to raise $90,000. The team invites everyone they know to donate money and patronage to help the foundation.
Fundraising is a way for the couple to not only support the effort of finding a cure for the disease, but also fulfill the hole that was created in their lives when CF entered it. As they recently explained, they were feeling “absolutely devastated,” and helping the foundation has brought them hope and optimism.
As advice to other parents who are suffering with the burden of the disease, the team says that “people don’t like asking others for help, and feel especially uncomfortable asking for money. My advice is to let go of those feelings. Loving and taking care of someone with the disease includes changing the future trajectory of the disease, and fundraising is the only way that can happen.”