Hundreds came out to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., on Sunday to “Hike the Halo,” a fundraiser to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and CF research. The event’s sponsors included numerous in the food industry—including Supervalu’s Albertsons—as well as vendors like Monster and Pepsi.
“The Angels (baseball franchise) are big supporters of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and graciously donated this amazing venue today, and we have about 700 people coming out who have all pledged and raised money and they are going to run these stairs as fast as they can,” Mike Shumard, executive director of the Orange County chapter of the CFF, told The Shelby Report at the event—which marked the first to be held at Angel Stadium.
Shumard said between 20 and 30 different teams were expected to participate. Many of those team members, he added, were part of Team Shelby—named for teen and CF sufferer Shelby Klug, daughter of Sue Klug—formerly president of Albertsons Southern California division and now SVP and CMO of Los Angeles-based Unified Grocers.
“And we have all the other teams that are centered around CF patients,” which include children and young adults, Shumard added.
Shumard noted that he expected the Hike the Halo event to raise between $90,000 and $100,000.
Cynthia McCloud, founder of Team ShelbyUSA, told The Shelby Reportthat the idea of Team Shelby started as an “idea over dinner and has grown into something really spectacular.”
It’s “focused on finding this cure to save the lives of these children and adults with Cystic Fibrosis,” she said. “And what’s so amazing about it is that it’s all about friends and family and people who really care about finding the cure.
“We are raising a lot of money; the research is not funded by any government funds but only by people w ho participate in these programs.”
She said Team Shelby is expected to raise nearly $300,000 this year.
Additionally, Shelby Klug is in line to try two new drugs that, according to McCloud, in combination will have the potential to actually be the cure for about 80 percent of the children who have this disease.”
“For the first time in over 50 years we actually have a chance to find a cure,” McCloud said. “My objective really is to save Shelby’s life and, if we can do that in the next year or two, find that cure, we’ll both save her life and also the lives of all the children who have it today and, more importantly, all the lives of children who could have it in the future.”
Taylor Ross’ story, in her words
Twelve-year-old Taylor Ross, who has CF, spoke to the crowd at the Hike the Halo event over the weekend.
“Hi, my name is Taylor Ross and I am 12 years old and I’m in the 7th grade. I love to surf, skateboard and do mixed martial arts. I love to be active, rain or shine. I also have Cystic Fibrosis.
“Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited life-threatening disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of about 30,000 kids and adults in the U.S. A defective gene passed on by both parents cause the body of CF patients to produce an unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections along with obstructing the pancreas and stopping the body’s natural enzymes from aiding the body in absorption of food and nutrients. Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive, chronic and terminal disease. There is no cure.
“I was a late diagnosis at the age of 7 and in just the last five years I have gone from being pancreatic sufficient to completely dependent on digestive medications and various other pancreatic drugs. I have also had to change my respiratory routine several times because my body has built up a tolerance to the medications. My biggest fear is when we run out of medications to try. Every day I take 22 different pills and do over three hours of respiratory treatment. Since my diagnosis in 2007 I have spent a total of 3,560 hours hooked up to machines, and that number does not include my yearly hospital visits where I spend hours and days on end, hooked up to machines and IVs. Just this past Tuesday I went into the hospital for a routine bronchoscopy and sinus scope and, despite the hours I do of treatment every day and the dozens of pills I take daily, my CF doctor pulled several ounces of thick sticky mucous from my upper airways and discovered that I have some minor vocal cord damage from constant coughing and reflux. It is because of this that my doctor has added a daily run to my respiratory therapy to help get out that mucous and strengthen my lungs. Exercise is key.
“Next year I hope to climb the Halo with you all competitively but for now I will cheer you on, give you some high fives along the way and continue to call you all heroes.
“Thank you for supporting our fight.”
In the featured photo at top: Hundreds of Albertsons employees, in blue shirts, gather in overwhelming support for Team Shelby and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. (See more pictures from the event here.)