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Siesta Key Thursday, May. 3, 2012 5 years ago

Walkers hit the sand to raise money for cystic fibrosis

by: Nick Friedman Managing Editor of Arts and Culture

An estimated 200 walkers will hit the sand of Siesta Key Beach this weekend for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Great Strides walk.

The 5K walk will begin with check-in at 8 a.m. May 5, at the Siesta Beach pavilion, 948 Beach Road. The event also will include breakfast and lunch, a live deejay, a silent auction and raffle prizes.

The walk, now in its eighth year, will raise money for cystic fibrosis research and awareness. It is one of the foundation’s largest fundraisers of the year.

Pat Warbritton, executive director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, says the annual event raises about $75,000 for research for a cure for the disease and to spreading awareness.

“It’s always a fun event,” Warbritton saus. “People really seem to enjoy it, because it’s on the beach.”

Natalie Twigg, co-chair of the event, says her inspiration to get involved came after her two daughters were diagnosed with the disease in 2004. She participated for the first time the following year. By 2006, she was helping to run the event.

“It’s one of the biggest fundraising events for the foundation,” Twigg says. “It raises money that will hopefully provide a cure one day.”

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the lungs and the digestive system. Twigg says only about 30,000 people in the country have the disease, and that events like this help bring awareness to the public.

“A lot of people wouldn’t understand the disease unless they were affected by it through a family member or friend,” Twigg says. “I’d love to see everyone who comes bring a friend, so we can double the amount we planned to raise and bring more awareness to the disease.”

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, based in Bethesda, Md., funds more cystic fibrosis research than any other organization, and nearly every cystic fibrosis drug available today was made possible because of foundation support. The Siesta Great Strides walk is organized by the foundation’s Southwest Florida chapter.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Great Strides Walk
WHEN: 8 a.m. May 5
WHERE: Siesta Key Beach
DETAILS: The event includes a 5K walk, breakfast and lunch, a live deejay, silent auction and raffle prizes.

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