For the past two years the of Caldwell has put together walk-a-thon teams that have participated in Cystic Fibrosis Foundation events, raising $15,000 in support of research to combat the disease.
Now the Courtright's have stepped up their efforts with the creation of their own Team Courtright event, the first annual , a day of ice skating and children's activities in support of Cystic Fibrosis (CF). The Courtrights became involved with fundraising for CF after their two sons, Matthew, age 7 and Mitchell, age 2 were diagnosed with the disease.
Mitchell was diagnosed when he was a month old. After his diagnosis, the Courtrights had their other three children tested. While their two daughters, Mackenzie, currently age 10, and Miranda, currently age 4, escaped the disease, Matthew was diagnosed when he was 5.
While Mitchell's diagnosis is more severe, Gregory Courtright explains on a "healthy day" Matthew must still undergo two hours of treatment to clear up his air way. In addition to this therapy, Mitchell receives more medication for help with his digestive system.
CF is an inherited chronic disease that causes 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.
Through research, life expectancies have been expanded since the 1950s, when few children lived to attend elementary school.
Still, as Gregory Courtright notes, CF is considered an orphan disease, as it affects under 100,000 people worldwide. With this classification, the federal government does not provide research money for pharmaceutical companies.
In addition to this limitation, Courtright says with relatively so few people affected by the disease, pharmaceutical companies have fewer people to serve as test subjects. "It costs pharmaceutical companies a lot of money to conduct research," he stated, making the success of fundraisers like the Courtrights especially important.
The inspiration for the ice skating fundraiser came from Mackenzie, who attends , along with Matthew, and skates competitively. At the end of the open skate session to be held at Clary Anderson Arena, Mackenzie will peform a routine to honor her brothers and all those who are living with cystic fibrosis.
Her coach, Deana Sroka of Montclair's Insider Edge Figure Skating Club and the owner of , will also be on hand, offering free ice skating lessons.
To add to the family event, Polka Dot the Clown will provide entertainment and a kids tattoo station will be set up. The snack bar will be open with proceeds from pizza and drink sales to benefit Team Courtright and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The Courtrights have been working on Skate4CF since the fall. "It's a lot more time than I expected," commented Gregory Courtright. Still, he and Jeanne Courtright manage to squeeze in a few hours a week to support this worthwhile event.
The Courtright's efforts appear to be paying off as pre-sale of tickets have been positive. In fact, the Courtright's encourage people to purchase tickets in advance as space is limited.
Skate4CF will take place on Sunday, March 18 at the Clary Anderson Arena, 41 Chestnut St. in Montclair, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tickets cost $20 if purchased by March 12 and $25 if purchased after March 12. Children under age 4 are free.
To raise additional funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Courtrights will hold a silent auction during the skating event. If you would like to donate an item contact them at TeamCourtright@comcast.net.
To purchase individual tickets in advance or for sponsorship opportunities, you can email the Courtrights or call Jeanne or Gregory at 973-364-0102 or download the flyer attached to this article.
Upcoming fundraising events to support Team Courtright for CF include a cut-a-thon on June 10 at in Caldwell and Team Courtright's participation in the Great Strides Walk at Verona Park on June 14.
For more information about cystic fibrosis, contact the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at their website.
To support Team Courtright or if you are interested in sponsoring a fundraising event for CF, click here.