BLADENBORO — “We’re just living on a prayer that they find a cure before it’s too late,” said Tesla Nance, step-mother to 15-year-old Nathan.
Nathan has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease affecting 30,000 people in the United State and 70,000 worldwide. Only manifested when both parents are carriers — which one in 32 Americans are, according the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation — the incurable disease can affect the pancreas liver, kidneys, and intestine, but it is mostly known for its effect on the lungs. People with cystic fibrosis have difficulty breathing and frequently contract lung infections.
Nathan and his family, for 2017 through March of 2018, are raising money for Great Strides of Durham, an organization devoted to finding a cure for the pulmonary disease.
On Saturday, the Nances, other family members, and friends from Nathan’s classes at West Bladen High School held a fundraiser at the Bladenboro Historical Society building. The chicken and BBQ plate sale — consisting of meat, baked beans, slaw, dessert, and tea — raised approximately $2,000 for Great Strides.
“We’re very grateful for everyone who came out today,” Tesla commented.
At 6 p.m., to signify the difficulty people with cystic fibrosis have in conducting ordinary, everyday tasks like blowing out air, purple balloons filled with helium were released into the air.
Volunteers were wearing black Team Nathan T-shirts that read “If all you did today was breathe, it was a good day.” Still available, shirts are $20 each and can be bought by contacting Tesla at 910-633-5718.
A Team Nathan fund has been set up at First South Bank. Anyone willing to donate can do so at the Elizabethtown branch. All money raised benefits Great Strides and research for a cure for cystic fibrosis.
Great Strides Durham has raised over $600,000 over the past 13 years to help support research and care for the 905 children and adults living with cystic fibrosis in North Carolina and the 30,000 living with it nationwide. This year — the 14th for the organization — leaders are hoping to raise $125,000.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.