Frisbee girls a reminder of ‘great strides’ made in CF

Schoolmates join cause with ‘Change for the Cure’

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Frisbee girls a reminder of  ‘great strides’ made in CFBy all outside indicators, 8-year-old Taylor and 5-year-old Isabella — the daughters of Eric and Julie Frisbee, younger sisters of Trevor — are two beautiful girls living life to the fullest with a loving family and a broad circle of friends. But that exuberant appearance conceals the effects of the sisters’ lifelong battles against cystic fibrosis.

In addition to school, sports and the many activities the girls enjoy along with their peers, a part of their “normal” existence also includes several hours daily of therapeutic breathing treatments, pills, antibiotics, pneumatic lung shakers and aerobic exercise.

But the commitment of the Frisbee family to keeping their girls healthy has ensured that — against all odds — the deteriorating effects of the disease does not hinder the girls.

Part of the credit also goes to the medical advancements that have also given the family the keys to understanding and combating the disease. Now the family is becoming a part of that march toward longterm health for those afflicted with CF by taking part in the Great Strides Walk on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Cerro Coso Community College.

Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease in the United States. There is presently no cure. Statistics show that one in 30 people carry the gene for CF mutation. Half of those afflicted with CF will not live to see their 37th birthday. But even that is a staggering leap from just more than 10 years ago, when the average life expectancy was around 18 years old.

“In 2012, nearly $40 million was raised to fund life-saving research, quality care and education programs,” cites a mission statement from the official website of Great Strides.

“Real progress toward a cure has been made, but the lives of young people with CF are still cut far too short. We urgently need the public’s continued support to fulfill our mission and help extend the lives of those with the disease.”

All support of the local event goes directly to the development of drugs — the costs of which are almost too large to comprehend.

“With your help, we can beat this disease,” said a local spokesperson. “Your support is much appreciated.”

The student body of Pierce Elementary School, where Taylor attends third grade, participates in the cause by hosting a “Change for the Cure” fundraiser each year during the school week leading up to the walk.

“This is a cause that is very near and dear to our hearts,” said Principal Pam Barnes. “The kids all know Mrs. Frisbee because she’s one of our projects teachers. And of course the third graders all know Taylor.”

Students bring their spare change to school, and those totals are tallied daily. The two classes that end up with the highest totals at the end of the week each get a pizza party. (If you want to know just how important this cause is to Taylor’s classmates, the fact that her class wins almost every year is just one indicator.)

Last year the school raised $1,700. Over the last several years the students have raised more than $7,000.

“Taylor is just one of those all-American students who seems to be good at everything — she works hard, does well in school, excels in sports. And even though Isabella won’t attend Pierce until next year, we feel the same about her,” said Barnes.

“You would never guess what these girls have to deal with on a daily basis health wise.”

To increase their lung capacity, the girls are active in IWV Swim Team, the youth soccer league and Cross Fit.

“Please help Taylor, Isabella and other CF patients in Ridgecrest raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,” urged a spokesperson.

Registration for the walk begins at 9:15 a.m. Donations can be made online at www.ericfrisbee.com/walk.

Story First Published: 2012-11-28