June 1st, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 21
Over 100 citizens join the Wilmots to fight cystic fibrosis
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
Six-year old Finley Wilmot crosses the finish line at Sunday’s CARSTAR Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History as his mother Jenny looks on. Crowsnest walkers raised over $6,000 toward cystic fibrosis research, care and advocacy.
Pass Herald Reporter
A smile on his face, an untied shoelace - his sister playing soccer nearby – the six-year old broke through the finish line, well ahead of many other participants. You wouldn’t have guessed that these siblings have cystic fibrosis.

It was yet another example of how CF isn’t stopping 12-year old Libbey Wilmot and her six-year-old brother Finley.

“People think we can’t do things because we have CF,” she added. “But we prove them wrong. We beat them in races and stuff and we play soccer.”

“We’re raising money to make cystic fibrosis history,” added Finley.

On May 29, about 100 residents showed up at Fireman’s Park in Bellevue for the CARSTAR Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History, one of 70 similar walks held in communities across the country.

This year, Canadian walkers raised over $3 million and counting toward cystic fibrosis research, care and advocacy. The Crowsnest walk raised over $6,000. Teck Resources and the Blairmore IGA donated food for a free barbecue.

For parents Jenny and Bill Wilmot, it was a day to feel the support of their community members.
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“We’re raising funds and that’s really important but to us and our family but to have people here and their support means so much more,” said Bill Wilmot. “It really means a lot to us.”

Libbey and Finely do an hour of physiotherapy every day to maintain healthy lungs. They also take a plethora of medications a year and make trips to the doctor every three months.

Libbey is quite skinny for her age because she has trouble digesting and has to eat about 80 per cent more than the average kid, said her father.
Sports are a great thing for the kids because being active helps their lungs.

“Our kids work really hard to stay healthy,” said Bill Wilmot. “My daughter’s out there playing soccer right now.”

For Jenny, the walk represents the one day a year when she’s most comfortable talking about CF. She said one day is enough because she doesn’t want her family to be defined by the condition.

“People think that when there’s a chronic illness in your family that it monopolizes your whole life, and it does, but it becomes so everyday,” said Jenny.

“I wouldn’t want people to say ‘that’s the family that has two kids with CF,’ I want them to say ‘that’s the family where all their kids play soccer and that Libbey’s the fastest runner on their soccer team,’ which she is despite the fact that she has a lung condition.”
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CF is a genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. It is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults.

Once upon a time, people with CF weren’t expected to live past childhood but now they’re living longer and healthier than ever before.
Research published in an edition of the European Respiratory Journal shows that Canadians with cystic fibrosis are living dramatically longer than a generation ago, to the point where CF is now considered a chronic condition, not strictly a pediatric illness.

There are treatments for the symptoms including enzymes to help with digestion and antibiotics for infections. There are exercises help clear the lungs and transplants as a last resort but there is no cure.

For every tenth time one of their kids participates in the walk to raise funds and awareness in the fight against CF, the Wilmots host the event.
This year marks nine-year old Edison’s - the middle Wilmot child - tenth year walking for CF. Three years ago they hosted the event in Libbey’s honour and three years from now they’ll host it for Finley.

“It’s awesome because everyone comes out to run for us,” said Libbey. “And comes out of their schedules.”

“I just want to say thank you.”
June 1st ~ Vol. 85 No. 21
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