Grand Rapids bids on dates for cystic fibrosis awareness

Cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disorder, affects over 30,000 children and adults in the United States alone. The chronic disorder causes thick, sticky mucus to clog the lungs and cause lung infections, obstructs the pancreas, and prevents the body from breaking down and absorbing food.

Bid for Bachelors and Bachelorettes, 2013
Bid for Bachelors and Bachelorettes, 2013

In West Michigan, Friends and Families of Cystic Fibrosis (FFCF) is nonprofit organization that supports cystic fibrosis patients and their families. FFCF creates care packages for children and young adults when they are hospitalized, assists with medical supplies and equipment, contributes to lung transplant procedures, assists in other funding needs through the Cystic Fibrosis Care Center at DeVos Children’s Hospital, and more. FFCF aims to improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

The biggest fundraiser FFCF creates for the West Michigan community is the annual Bids for Bachelors and Bachelorettes event taking place this Saturday, March 1st in downtown Grand Rapids. The fundraiser takes a spin on a date auction by offering date packages provided by local area businesses. Each ‘date’ is auctioned off with a bachelor or bachelorette, with all proceeds staying in Grand Rapids. Date package examples include, but are not limited to: night stays at local hotels, restaurant gift certificates, concert tickets, classes, couples date trips and vacations, and much more. Visit the FFCF website to buy your tickets for this Saturday’s fundraiser.

FFCF has helped a number of families in the West Michigan community feel connected, supported, and secure through their journey with cystic fibrosis. The Mullens, one such family, have a four-year-old daughter, Evangeline, who suffers from cystic fibrosis and has found solace in the aid of FFCF. As mother, Elizabeth, remembers: “Our first reaction was, ‘she might have cystic what?’ We had never even heard of cystic fibrosis [before Evangeline was diagnosed at six days old.]”

As another shock, Evangeline’s father, Jeremy, was laid off of his job seven months after her diagnosis. With the added pressure of financial fear, the Mullens found a real blessing in their introduction to FFCF. Elizabeth notes, “We had support and love from a group that will stand with us and hold us up when we feel helpless.”

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The Mullens have now adjusted to the daily impacts of Evangeline’s cystic fibrosis: therapy sessions to loosen up mucus, daily medications, hospital and doctor visits, contact monitoring and prevention. In changing their lifestyle, they now “constantly ask questions, address any health concerns immediately, and work to maintain and improve our current health.”

As Elizabeth advises, “Don’t let an incurable disease make you weak. There is always hope. Cystic fibrosis will not define our daughter. We will continue to fight for a cure and in the meantime we will take a breath, relax, and remember that we can do this together.”

Photo credit: Friends and Families of Cystic Fibrosis

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