The event was created by Jerry Cahill, a CF patient and ambassador for the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF), a nonprofit organization started by Boomer Esiason, a former American football quarterback whose son was diagnosed with CF at age 2.
Apart from raising awareness about the disease and the CF community, Bike 2 Breathe also intends to encourage CF patients to exercise. Cahill, together with CF advocate Emily Schaller, will cycle 500 miles from Boston to Pittsburgh, where they plan to arrive on Sept. 25.
“We hope we can inspire other people living with cystic fibrosis and those who want to support us to get out there and create their own fundraising events with the Boomer Esiason Foundation,” Cahill said in a press release.
“Emily and I both know how vital exercise is for both of us — Emily, for her cystic fibrosis and airway clearance and me, to maintain my health after my double-lung transplant,” Cahill added.
Exercise is believed to help CF patients clear the mucus from their airways, in addition to building overall strength.
Under a rigorous set of safety guidelines, Cahill and Schaller will make several stops during their journey. At each, they will meet — while keeping “socially-distant and safe” — with others with CF, and help spread to word about the disease among the general public.
Cahill thinks that regular exercise has helped him to survive his lung transplant and better deal with his disease. He has been responsible for a set of programs dedicated to CF patients, such as You Cannot Fail and Team Boomer, which focuses on exercise with CF and raises funds to support scholarships for patients.
Inspired by Cahill, Schaller took up a healthy lifestyle and sports as a way to help with disease management. She founded the Rock CF Foundation, dedicated to engaging and empowering patients.
In addition to raising awareness for CF, promoting education and exercise, and improving patients’ quality of life, the foundation also supports research aimed at finding a cure. To date, BEF has raised over $150 million in this effort.
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