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Fundraising Event Grows Out Of CF’s Connection To Surfing

Shelby Klug with her mother, Sue.
Shelby Klug with her mother, Sue.

Pipeline to a Cure, which showcases the therapeutic benefits that surfing brings the cystic fibrosis community, hosted its biggest-ever gala Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Report & Spa. The fundraiser is an event of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and this year’s 8th annual gala honored the Kirby family. It also featured Shelby Klug, 17-year-old daughter of California grocery industry executives Todd and Sue Klug, as a guest speaker. Klug has CF. The Klugs have long been supporters and advocates for CF research and finding a cure.

“Cystic fibrosis is in everyone here…in the fight for a cure because a cure is not something that we can just wish for,” Klug told the crowd. “It’s something we have to fight for and researchers are closer than they have ever been to finding a cure. New drugs and medications are being approved by the FDA that are enhancing the lives for people like me with cystic fibrosis. This progress could not have been made without the generous support of all of you here.”

Klug detailed her daily struggle with the genetic disease, including the chronic coughing as well as the breathing treatments and dozens of pills she endures—and that’s simply to maintain her health.

“When I actually get sick I’m on antibiotics and I’m in the hospital,” she said.

In fact, Klug was hospitalized just a couple weeks prior to Saturday’s fundraiser.

Still, the teenager points out that having CF is a “catch 22,” because there’s an upside to the “pain and hurt.”

She says though she must get up at 4 every morning for breathing treatments, she’s thankful that she’s able to get up; that she’s thankful for her parents who “double as nurses and caretakers when she’s sick.”

Klug notes she never takes a single moment for granted.

“Cystic fibrosis is knowing the difference between living and merely existing,” she said.

Pipeline to a Cure was created after Australian researchers discovered that children with cystic fibrosis who surfed had significantly healthier lungs. Doctors determined that inhaling saltwater mist rehydrates the lining of the lungs, which allows CF patients to more easily eliminate the life-threatening mucus that accumulates in their lungs. This led researchers to develop a saline solution that mimics a surf session. It’s used by patients on a daily basis.

The organization has the support of dozens of ambassadors, many of them from the world of water sports but also some from entertainment (Green Day band members), land sports like baseball (Tim Salmon), skateboarding (Tony Hawk) and motocross (Sara Rose) and art (Kid Creature).

Presented by BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Saturday’s event was supported by a number of other restaurants, including the Habit Burger Grill, Stacked/Food Well Built and Wahoo’s Fish Taco. Other sponsors included American Airlines, Kid Creature, Coast Benefit Consultants, LAcarGuy, Newport Aquatic Center, Orange County Young Executives and Quickblade.

Find photos from Pipeline to a Cure here.

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