Event to raise money, awareness for cystic fibrosis patients

By Clara Goode

This will be the University’s fifth year hosting Laps for Cystic Fibrosis, a fundraiser to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis.

The event will be held Friday at 4:30 p.m. at the University Aquatics Center.

Emily Schreiber, now 17, started Laps for CF when she was first diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 9. Schreiber was swimming on a local team in Birmingham when she was diagnosed, and said her love of swimming inspired her to found the fundraiser.

“My parents didn’t want me to start Laps for CF at first,” Schreiber said. “We all thought that it would be a one-time thing, but now they are so supportive.”

The original idea, Schreiber said, was that individuals would pledge a dollar amount for every lap she would swim.

According to Schreiber, the original goal was to raise $3,000. However, they ended up raising $60,000 the first year, and over the last eight years, they have raised over $1.8 million.

“The money doesn’t just go to research centers,” Schreiber said. “It also goes to individual families who need support.”

The Laps for CF foundation is located in Birmingham. The foundation holds a number of other events throughout the year as well, including benefit concerts, other swim meets and, this fall, a wine tasting event called Sips for CF. This is the foundation’s only event to take place in Tuscaloosa.

In addition, Laps for CF also conducts several nationwide events as well as in-state fundraisers.

The UA swim team first invited Schreiber to come swim on campus five years ago and has stayed involved ever since first showing their support.

Stephanie Kite, executive director of the Laps for CF foundation, said the event would include exhibitions by the UA swim and dive teams as well as food, music and children’s games.

“This year, 9-year-old Emma Kate will be swimming in the event, and Emily will be hosting it,” Kite said.

The event is free for anyone who wishes to attend and is sponsored by the PanHellenic Association. Donations, however, are welcome, Kite said.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems. The average life expectancy of cystic fibrosis patients is 37.

Schreiber said cystic fibrosis now affects about 30,000 people nationwide.

“We really want to raise money, but also awareness,” Schreiber said. “Since it’s smaller it doesn’t get a lot of attention and there is a desperate need for funding.”

Schreiber said they are trying to get some younger families involved in the program to keep the momentum of success going.

“It’s been overwhelming the amount of support we’ve had,” Schreiber said.

The organization’s most recent accomplishment was state approval for the Laps for CF license plates for sale

“The biggest thing that people can do to support this cause is to simply come to the event,” Kite said.

More information about the foundation can be found at lapsforcf.org.

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