Painting the town red for cystic fibrosis

by CLAIRE JONES
9th November 2020

DID YOU NOTICE an unusual number of walkers and joggers, all dressed in red in Warrandyte on Sunday, 25 October?

It was hard to miss Team Gallop’s mass of 60 individuals and family groups from 15 local families who embarked on a mission to paint the town red!

Team Gallop embarked on their virtual Great Strides — a fun run and walk held every October — to raise awareness and funds for people living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF).

Usually held around The Botanic Gardens (the Tan) in Melbourne, this year’s event was fully supported by many virtually, with participants registering and running their own event locally.

For the 60 or so members of Team Gallop, this entailed running the beautiful streets and trails of Warrandyte.

CF is the most common, life-limiting genetic condition affecting Australians, and currently 3,500 people in Australia are living with CF.

There is no cure yet, but advances in treatment and care are helping people to better manage their CF.

CF causes an abnormal build-up of thick and sticky mucus in the lungs, airways and digestive system.

Treatment requires intensive daily physiotherapy to clear the lungs and airways, countless medications and frequent hospitalisations.

Warrandyte resident Claire Jones has a direct connection to CF, through her son, Jack.

“We first made contact with Cystic Fibrosis Community Care when our son Jack was born with cystic fibrosis in 2007, and we participated in our first Great Strides event that year.

“It was originally held around Princess Park in the city and I remember Jack sitting in the pram enjoying the view while we ran and pushed him around the park,” she said.

Karin Knoester, Cystic Fibrosis Community Care CEO spoke about how important the Great Strides event is to the charity.

“Great Strides is one of our biggest fundraising events.

“It allows us to raise money for vital services and programs, advocacy and research for the 1,600 people living with cystic fibrosis in Victoria and New South Wales.

“As a not-for-profit charitable organisation, Cystic Fibrosis Community Care relies heavily on the generosity of the Victorian and NSW public, as well as private donors and philanthropic sources.

“Currently, only 20 per cent of our income is provided by various levels of government, which is why events like these are so important,” she said.

Great Strides is a family-friendly event and is a great way to bring people together.

It is also a good way to remind us that while CF can sometimes be a hidden illness, there is a lot constantly going on behind the scenes in terms of physiotherapy and tablets taken daily.

“What we take for granted — being able to go out for a walk or run — isn’t always easy for others,” said Claire.

2020 has certainly delivered its challenges, but one of the positives has been the great community we live in, which Claire says was reflected in the Great Strides event.

“We had the biggest number of participants in our team this year, even though it wasn’t a typical fun run event.”

So if you spotted a red t-shirt or two puffing and panting (or maybe some were gliding) around the streets of Warrandyte, it was all in aid of a great cause.

Team Gallop collectively ran and walked over 420 kilometres in one day as part of the Great Strides virtual event and Claire wanted to give special mention to Meleah Byth who completed her first half marathon, as part of the event.

Information about Great Strides and Cystic Fibrosis Community Care can be found via their website www.cfcc.org.au.

 

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