Lee University To Hold 20th Annual Great Strides Walk

Friday, February 7, 2020 - by Noah Gilmer, Lee University
Team Nathan gathers at the balloon arch on Lee’s campus prior to the 2019 Great Strides Walk.
Team Nathan gathers at the balloon arch on Lee’s campus prior to the 2019 Great Strides Walk.

The 20th annual Great Strides Walk and 18th annual 65 Roses 5k, which raises funds and awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, will be held at Lee University on Saturday, March 28.

Cleveland community leader Beverly Phillips Johnson will serve a second year as community chair for Great Strides 2020, according to campaign officials at Lee University.

“Beverly has brought such enthusiasm and commitment to cystic fibrosis awareness,” said Vanessa Hammond, event co-chair and mother to a son with CF. “We are grateful that she will continue in the effort this year, because wherever she engages in our community she makes peoples’ lives better.”

"As a community member and an alumna of Lee, I am pleased to once again support this event that brings together the Cleveland community and the university in partnership for a common cause,” said Ms. Johnson. “After learning last year about the life-changing benefit the CF Foundation brings to people with this terrible disease, I am eager to put on my walking shoes and do what I can to help!”

The Great Strides event consistently rallies hundreds of community participants and Lee University students to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest national fundraiser, raising more than $42 million with over 125,000 participants at events all across the nation. Last year, the event drew over 1,000 total walkers, runners, and volunteers. The Cleveland event has reached over $1.1 million raised for CF research since the local event’s founding in 2001.

"Great Strides truly harnesses the power of community, and there is no better example of that power than the community at Lee University and within Bradley County” said Jolly Johnson, senior development director at the Tennessee Chapter Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “As we celebrate 20 years of Great Strides at Lee, we also celebrate the incredible impact this community has had on the Foundation and all those living with cystic fibrosis and their families. It is so inspiring to all, and together we hope to one day celebrate when CF stands for Cure Found!"

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just recently approved Trikafta, the first triple combination therapy available to treat patients with the most common cystic fibrosis mutation. Trikafta is approved for patients 12 years and older with CF who have at least one F508del mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene, which is estimated to represent 90 percent of the CF population.

The route for the 2020 walk and 5K run (3.1 miles) will begin and end on the Lee campus and travel throughout Cleveland’s historic downtown area. The walk and road race, in partnership with Terra Running Company, will begin at 9 a.m.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a nonprofit donor-supported organization dedicated to attacking cystic fibrosis from every angle. Its focus is to support the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with CF, and ultimately find a cure. In the last 30 years, the life expectancy of a child with CF has doubled, and research is happening daily to find a cure and develop drugs available to those living with CF.

For more information about the Cleveland Great Strides or 65 Roses 5K, visit http://www.leeuniversity.edu/cf.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Ms. Hammond at vhammond@leeuniversity.edu.

For more information about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, https://www.cff.org/.


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