"We have made tremendous progress over the last 50 years," said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Foundation. "And yet there is still so much more work to be done. We need the infusion of this campaign, along with the remarkable support from our traditional resources, to help us reach our goal of a cure."
The CF Foundation was established in 1955, when most children who had cystic fibrosis died before they could enter elementary school. Since then, the Foundation has led efforts that have resulted in major medical breakthroughs, including the 1989 discovery of the gene that causes cystic fibrosis. Currently, the Foundation has 80 fundraising chapters across the United States and supports more than 115 cystic fibrosis care centers at major teaching and community hospitals nationwide. Thanks to caregivers, researchers, families, volunteers, and donors, the median age of survival for CF patients has risen to 35.
"The goal of the campaign is to ensure that new therapies for cystic fibrosis are developed as quickly as possible," said campaign chairman Joseph J. O'Donnell. "The clock is our worst enemy." O'Donnell, who is CEO of Boston Culinary Group, lost his son Joey to the disease in 1986.
Funds raised by the Campaign will support the discovery and development of new cystic fibrosis therapies. There are currently more than 20 potential CF treatments in various stages of testing.
The CF Foundation will officially kick off the public phase of the Milestones to a Cure campaign on October 20, 2005 at a dinner and reception at the Marriot Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, Md.