|Mother shares story of cystic fibrosis |
|By TARA WINGO |
Special to The Messenger
For those of you who don’t know our story, my husband Tad and I have a 3-year-old son, Jack, who has cystic fibrosis. Although his official diagnosis did not come until he was six weeks old, Jack was basically diagnosed with CF on his second day of life. We, and Jack, battle this disease on a daily basis. It literally requires him to give up hours of his time everyday. He is so good about doing his treatments and taking his medicines. Jack understands that these things are a part of his life, which on one hand makes me sad that my son, at 3, has to have this type of understanding, but also lets me know that I have one brave little boy. Jack is beginning to ask me and Tad more questions about his “CF” everyday. It is sometimes difficult to answer him truthfully and also in a way that doesn’t make him afraid. So far, we have been able to work that out, for the most part.
Tad and I feel so blessed to have Jack in our lives. He is so funny and smart and has more energy than any child I have ever seen. Right now, Jack is doing great, and to see him running and playing, you would never know he has CF. We are so thankful that he is able to do just about anything that any other child his age would be doing. He will be playing T-ball this summer and will begin preschool in the fall, and like lots of little boys his age, he loves Thomas the Train and race cars.
There have been times in my life that I have wanted to be a part of something, to do something meaningful, but I haven’t known how to spend my time and money in a way that would truly benefit the people I was trying to help. God has given Tad and me that opportunity, and we would like to share that with you.
“We operate on a dime.” Approximately 90 cents of every dollar donated to the CF Foundation supports vital CF research, education and specialized CF care centers around the country. The CF Foundation has been continually honored by very reputable sources for not only spending its money wisely, but also for being very successful in bringing effective treatments to its patients. There are currently over 30 drugs in the CF pipeline, all of which have been partially funded by the money we raise in events like the Great Strides walks. There is even one drug, known in the CF world as “the little blue pill,” that is still in trials, but appears to halt the lung decline in approximately 4 percent of the CF population … so we know we are on the right track, and it is possible to halt the progression of this disease.
The CF Foundation is not funded by the government. Cystic Fibrosis is considered an “orphan disease” because there are not enough people with the disease (about 30,000 in the U.S.) to qualify for government funding. That makes every dollar the Foundation receives that much more important. Those dollars raised buy progress against CF and time for those who are affected by it. Our family knows from personal experience that even the smallest amount of progress made against this disease helps those with CF and those who love them breathe a little bit easier.
When I think of CF, I think of Jesus’ words to his disciples in Matthew 16, verse 20: “…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” CF certainly has turned out to be an Everest type of mountain, but there have been many faithful mothers and fathers, families and friends, doctors and researchers moving this mountain little by little for the past 50 years, when there seemed to be no hope at all. They have helped move it enough that we can have faith that Jack and all of the others we have grown to love who battle CF can hope for a full life. Even with this tremendous progress, our work is far from over, and we must continue to move this mountain a little bit more everyday.
Tad and I appreciate all of you and ask that you would join us in our efforts to find a cure or control for CF. Please consider making a donation to the CF Foundation through either the Obion/Weakley County or the Jackson Great Strides walks, and if you would consider asking others to donate, that would be greatly appreciated, too. We would love to have any of you walk with us on Saturday or May 17, and we also have several other CF Foundation events that we work on throughout the year. We always have room for new volunteers and new ideas. As always, and most importantly, please keep Jack and our family in your prayers.
Jack Liam Wingo is the son of Tad and Tara Wingo of Jackson. His grandparents are Randy Yarbro of Hopkinsville, Ky., Jo Ann Speer of Kenton and David and Lana Wingo of Jackson. His great-grandparents are Doris and Jerry Patterson of Trenton, Charlene Yarbro and the late James Yarbro of Kenton, Freida Wingo and the late Leland Wingo of Bradford and Madelon Patterson and the late E.W. Patterson of Bradford. There are many other important people in Jack’s life, including his uncle, J.P. Yarbro of Jackson, his aunt, Shana, and Robert Pace of Savannah, Ga., Kerry Speer of Kenton and Carol Yarbro of Hopkinsville. To all of you, you make a huge difference in our lives, and we thank you so much for your efforts in fighting CF.
Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest and most successful national fund-raising event. This year the Obion/Weakley County Great Strides walk will be held on Saturday at the Martin Recreation Complex and the Jackson Great Strides walk will be held on May 17 at North Park in Jackson. Your generous gift will be used efficiently and effectively, as approximately 90 cents of every dollar of revenue raised is available for investment in vital CF programs to support research, care and education.
Making a donation is easy and secure. To make a donation to the CF Foundation through Jack’s Team, just type http://www.cff.org/Great_Strides/TaraWingo5227 or http://www.cff.org/Great_Strides/KerryoAnnSpeer into your browser and hit the “Click to Donate” button at the bottom of the page. Your entire donation is tax-deductible. Any amount you can donate is greatly appreciated! If you would like to make a donation, but would prefer to send a check, make the check out to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and mail to:
Tara Wingo, 48 Flagstone Drive, Jackson, TN 38305
We will be turning in any checks received to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on the date of the Jackson Walk on May 17.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a devastating genetic disease that affects tens of thousands of children and young adults in the United States. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that: clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
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. In 2006, the predicted median age of survival for a person with CF was 37 years. About 1,000 new cases of cystic fibrosis are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. More than 70 percent of patients are diagnosed by age 2. Approximately 10 million Americans — or about one in every 31 Americans — are carriers of the defective CF gene, but do not have the disease. These carriers often never know they are carriers unless they pass the disease on to a child. Many states are now screening children for CF at birth. Early detection of the disease can have a significant impact on life expectancy.
Research and care supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is making a huge difference in extending the quality of life for those with CF. However, we continue to lose precious lives to CF every day. That’s why your help is needed now more than ever to ensure that a cure is found sooner — rather than later. To learn more about CF and the CF Foundation, visit www.cff.org
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those with CF! Thank you for supporting the mission of the CF Foundation and GREAT STRIDES!
Published in The Messenger 4.25.08