When Blythe Eddy, associate director of the Center for Student Involvement whose 5-year-old son Landon Dody has cystic fibrosis, saw 400 people from the university and the surrounding community show up to support the fifth annual Laps 4 Landon fundraiser this Tuesday, she was grateful.
“We are just thankful, very thankful for every day,” Eddy said with tears in her eyes when the sun went down at Welch Stadium. “It gives Aron (Eddy’s husband) and I hope that someday Landon can be as excited about living his life as we are because he has hope and a future because there are good medicines. The money that’s raised here helps research, and hopefully there are medicines that can help him live longer.”
Laps 4 Landon is an annual event to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to find a cure for the disease. It raised $4,700 this year, the highest amount ever.
“It’s pretty amazing that there is so much support from ESU and students. I’m so thankful for all of the students being here and the support from the surrounding communities,” Eddy said.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States, and 70,000 worldwide, according to the CFF.
Landon was diagnosed with the disease when he was three months old. Since then, Jennifer Thomas, assistant professor of health and physical education and recreation, and her health promotion majors have organized the event every year as a final project for a health marketing class.
“The meaning of this event is that CF needs to stand for ‘cure found’ instead of ‘cystic fibrosis,” said Lindsey Kunkel, junior health promotion major. “It’s important to health promotion majors because health is an ever evolving practice. And as long as we keep raising money to fund the research, then we can find cures for cystic fibrosis and other diseases that haven’t found cures yet.”
Thomas called Landon “an ESU kiddo” because his mom works at the CSI, his aunt, Laura Eddy, is the director of Admissions, and his grandfather, Tom Eddy, is a professor of biology.
Eddy said the predicted median age of survival for a person with cystic fibrosis is 37 years old, but not many years ago, they wouldn’t even live until pre-school.
“It’s a pretty a rough battle, but I hope there are more medicines in the future to help them live longer,” Eddy said.
Landon is now taking strict breathing treatment and medicines. One of his top medicines, a necessary breathing treatment to keep his lungs clear, costs $3,500 a month.