Chad W. Lutz
Imagine you’re ten years old again. Iron Man 2 action-figures and Hannah Montana are your entire life. You run around all day, and just when your parents think you’re too tired to go any further, you run and run some more. And like most ten-year olds blind to social and political stigmas, you think you’re just like everybody else; a healthy, happy little person who bumps and bruises just like the rest. And why should you think any different? You color inside the lines with an 82-count crayon box at your side. Your room has posters of dinosaurs and ponies and your favorite sports and music heroes fill in the rest of the white space. But when you awake each morning, you can’t help but feel completely different, and that’s when it sinks in.

Each year, 1,000 U.S. new borns have this to look forward to in their future; wanting to fit in but knowing they are completely different and the culprit is the degenerative genetic lung disorder Cystic Fibrosis.

For these kids, waking up takes on a whole new meaning. It means coughing your head off as your parent’s pound on your back to clear air passages just so you can make it through your day without wheezing. It means taking three to four different medications to stave off the side effects of diabetes, stunted growth, and the inability of your own pancreas from utilizing enzymes you need in order to break down something as simple as the food you eat. When’s the last time you woke up and thought to yourself, “Will I be able to breath today?”

In an effort to combat the devastating nature of the disease, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Northeast Ohio Chapter will be holding a series of events called Great Strides, which features a 10k (don’t worry it’s walk or run), activities for kids, food, fun, live music and an opportunity to help bring us closer to having CF stand for “Cure Found.”

If you are interested in helping the cause, or if you’re just looking for a good time, the following cities are holding events in the near future:

∑ Cleveland (5/15/2010) – Cleveland Metroparks Zoo @ 8am
∑ Cincinnati (5/15/2010) – Sawyer Point, P&G Pavilion @ 9am
∑ Zanesville (5/15/2010) – Zane’s Landing Park @ 9am
∑ Akron (5/16/2010) – Hardesty Park, W. Market St. @ 1pm
∑ Lebanon (5/22/2010) – Harmon Park @ 9am
∑ Fremont (5/22/2010) – Connor Park @ 10am
∑ Lake County (5/23/2010) – Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation @ 1pm
∑ Mahoning/Trumbull County (9/18/2010) – Boardman Park, Masters Pavilion @ 9am
∑ Willard (9/18/2010) – Willard City Park @ 4:30pm

And if you can’t make it out to any of these events and you live in the Cuyahoga Falls/Akron area, local band The SchueneLutz Experience will be holding a series of concerts this summer in benefit of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Life is something precious that we all share, and when it’s taken away from us, it can be one of the most devastating things a person might ever have to endure. Each year 30,000 people in the United States alone have to grapple with the reality that this might be the year or month or week or day. But we’re making Great Strides. And with your valuable help, there’s a good chance that for all those ten-year olds who so desperately want to be “normal” we might be able to add on a few more tomorrows today.

*If you would like to know more about Cystic Fibrosis or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, visit or contact Suzanne Zak (Special Events Coordinator) at