Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States. In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their thirties, forties, and beyond.
The Tyler Branch of the Northeast Texas Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will hold their annual Great Strides event at Rose Rudman Park in Tyler on Saturday, September 24, beginning at 8:00 a.m. This is the largest national fundraising event for the foundation and thousands of co-workers, friends, and families come together each year as one community for one cause…to help find a cure for CF. In 2010, nearly $35.5 million was raised to support vital CF programs.
Kim Jackson Wheeler and Molly Wolf are the chairwomen of this year’s Tyler Great Strides fundraiser. Together with their committee, Mrs. Wheeler and Mrs. Wolf are planning a morning of fun that includes the Kid’s Dash and the 5K Walk/Run along with a Kid’s Corner filled with games and activities for the entire family to enjoy.
Born in Tyler, Mrs. Wheeler is a lifelong member of the Tyler community. She and her husband, Mark, have been married ten years and are the parents of Ashten, eight, and Sloane, four. Mrs. Wheeler is a graduate of Robert E. Lee High School and attended Kilgore College where she was a member of the Rangerettes. She earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Tyler. The Wheelers are members of Marvin United Methodist Church.
“As a working mom, I have to choose wisely where I devote my time. However, CF is dear to my heart because one of my daughter’s closest friends suffers from the disease,” Mrs. Wheeler said. “Watching her fearless struggle to beat CF has made me want to fight alongside her. Dedicating my time to fighting CF is the least I can do, and there’s nothing I want more than for CF to stand for ‘Cure Found.’ ”
Born in Dallas, Texas, Mrs. Wolf grew up in Tyler. She and her husband of eight years, Jonathan, spent several years living in Austin before returning to Tyler to raise their two children, Luke, six, and Lucy, four. Mrs. Wolf is a graduate of Robert E. Lee High School and attended Tyler Junior College and The University of Texas at Tyler. Mrs. Wolf is a member of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – Tyler Branch Board of Directors. The Wolfs are members of Christ Episcopal Church.
Mrs. Wolf said, “Volunteering is important for our community and a great thing for our children to see and understand. For me, giving back feels good and is necessary.”
Both women agree it is a blessing to live and raise their children in a community where much of the focus is on the needs of others.
For more information about cystic fibrosis or Great Strides, please visit www.cff.org/chapters/tyler.