June 3, 2014 at 6:00 AM
CADLWELL, NJ - When Mackenzie Courtright asked her mother Jeanne Courtright if she could run a fundraiser that would help her brothers Mitchell and Michael who have Cystic Fibrosis, her mom suggested that she think of something that could be done with her fellow students at school.
Courtright, a sixth-grader at Grover Cleveland Middle School (GCMS), approached principal James Brown with the idea of Laps for Life, and on May 19, students in grades six through eight put on their walking shoes to prove that they are “walking the walk” when it comes to doing good for their community and beyond. Nearly 300 students and staff walked together to raise $1500 for Cystic Fibrosis research.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of children and young adults in the United States. When the CF Foundation was started in 1955, a child with CF was not expected to live to attend elementary school. Today, dramatic advances in CF research and treatment have extended the median age of survival for people with CF to almost 37 years.
Courtright whose two younger brothers are afflicted with the disease, has seen first hand what is involved with Cystic Fibrosis, and wanted to do something to make a difference. Listening to principal James Brown’s suggestion on leaving “your mark on the school and community” motivated Courtright to ask her parents and the school if she could organize the event.
“I want the students to see that they can make a difference,” said Brown. “Both the students that suggest and organize the events, and those that participate. Every student can leave their mark on the school and beyond.”
Stephanie Karlo of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation attended the event, along with the entire Courtright family, and joined the students on their walk. Courtright presented Karlo with a check for $1500, representing the money raised by the students through the walk and “pin-up” sales.
“Mackenzie wanted to do something for her brothers,” said mother Jeanne Courtright. “Educating students and parents on the disease and showing everyone how even a sixth grader can make a difference was one of the most important things she could do.”