Beta Sigma Phi helps gear up for ‘Great Strides Walk’

Beta Sigma Phi helps gear up for ‘Great Strides Walk’The 11th annual Great Strides Walk, which raises money and awareness for the fight against cystic fibrosis, will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, at Cerro Coso Community College track. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with the walk beginning at 10 a.m.

“Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that is currently incurable. One in 30 people reading this article is likely to be a carrier of the CF gene,” said a spokesperson. “On the exterior, people with CF look normal, but internally their lungs and digestive system undergo severe damage from extra thick and sticky mucus created by the disease.”

Back in 2007 Eric and Julie Frisbee started what has become an annual tradition to support people with cystic fibrosis.

“2017 is the 30th anniversary of the national Great Strides, which is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest fundraising event,” said Eric.

“This year the foundation is celebrating the many milestones achieved, thanks to its many supporters and volunteers. Each year, more that 125,000 people participate in more than 400 walks across the country. These participants and volunteers passionately support the foundation’s mission to cure cystic fibrosis and to raise awareness of this rare, genetic, life-shortening disease that makes it very difficult to breathe.”

“Participating in the annual Ridgecrest Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Walk is our community’s opportunity to help with the fight to find a cure for CF,” said Dottie Cowan of Beta Sigma Phi. When she learned of people in Ridgecrest battling cystic fibrosis, she inspired members in her Ridgecrest chapter to join the efforts of the Frisbee family.

Some of the sorority’s loyal volunteers, trained in collecting and recording tax-deductible donations, include Rosie Holtrop, Kathy Moe, Sue Moulton, Carole Poppen, Diane and Larry Thompson and Kitty Winters.

Since the number of participants at Great Strides continues to increase each year, Members Sue Bue, Marie Fisher, and Judy Grosbier joined the sorority’s group of volunteers at the 2016 Walk.

Cystic fibrosis affects only 30,000 children and adults in the United States. It is labeled an “orphan disease” because most big pharmaceutical companies are not willing to fund research and development of drugs for the small population of people with CF. Consequently, most research and development funding comes from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

With funds raised during Great Strides, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has been pivotal in the development of several new drugs.

Rather than simply treat the symptoms of CF, these drugs address the underlying cause of the disease, slowing the physiological damage caused by the disease. This is a huge breakthrough for those with CF, improving their quality of life. The improvement is small, but important for future advancement.

These new drugs fix only a small percentage of the disease-causing defect, but are a beginning to enable those with CF to breathe more easily and to prevent hospital stays. The technology behind the drugs is new, with very promising improvements on horizon, needing more research and development.

Members of the Burroughs High School Band will help kick off the event. Cookies, coffee, cocoa, water and other refreshments will be provided for all participants.

For more information, or to donate online, visit www.ridgecrestgreatstrides.org. If you prefer donating with a check, call Tina Frisbee at 760-375-8353.

Pictured: Sue Moulton, Carole Poppen, Dottie Cowan, Kitty Winters and Rosie Holtrop of Beta Sigma Phi international sorority support the Great Strides Walk. -- Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2017-11-03