Congratulations to Seton Swimming for completing our 7th Annual Cystic Fibrosis Children’s Miracle Network Swim-a-thon.  As a team, we raised over $2,300 and had 34 swimmers participate.  28 of them were able to complete at least 200 lengths of the pool before they had to close the pool – that’s 5,000 yards or nearly 3 miles!

Today’s swim was truly a great accomplishment for many of these swimmers, particularly some of the younger 7th graders.  I was even more proud of freshman Maddie Given.  Maddie has Cystic Fibrosis and completed the entire 200 lengths!  What an amazing display of both personal courage and medical progress in fighting this disease.  Maddie was the personification of what we were doing here today.

And it was so wonderful having Fr. Noah Morey come out and support us – he swam the whole 200 lengths!  Coach Heidi Santschi also jumped into the race by swimming 100 lengths!

Thank you to the Given family for their great job in organizing the event!  Right before the event, Mrs. Given gave us an inspiring and touching talk on why we were all there.  The money we raised went directly to Johns Hopkins where many of the Seton families fighting this disease go for treatment.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections.  It can also obstruct the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond – the median life expectancy is now in the late 40s.

There are a number of families close to the Seton community affected by Cystic Fibrosis and all of the life limiting challenges it imposes including the Given’s, the Kohlhaas’ and the Manley’s.   The wonderful news is that scientists are closer than ever to a cure.  The scientists we are supporting at the CF Foundation and Johns Hopkins University are studying new medications right now that hold the promise for a normal life for those who struggle with Cystic Fibrosis.

In January of 2012 the CF Foundation announced its new medication, Kalydeco, which essentially cures one mutation of the disease.  This medication works effectively in 4% of the CF population, but we can help the other 96% who hope and pray that the cure is found for them.

In the past three years, research funded by money like the money we raised this past weekend has led to a new drug called Orkanbi which is showing remarkable results with the Given kids.  The latest drug in the pipeline now is Vertex 809 which, if it works, will cure the most common mutation and impact the lives of the greatest number of people affected by Cystic Fibrosis.

Here were the swimmers who performed so well this morning:

  • Mairead Geiran (10), 1:12
  • Shane Koehr (11), 1:14
  • Anne Konstanty (11), 1:14
  • Caroline Griffin (11), 1:18
  • Mary Heim (12), 1:19
  • Jack Santschi (10), 1:19
  • Jerry Dalrymple (10), 1:27
  • Jacob Alsup (11), 1:27
  • Joey Dealey (8), 1:29
  • Connor Koehr (6), 1:30
  • Teresa Bingham (9), 1:31
  • Christian Ceol (11), 1:32
  • Ceili Koehr (9), 1:33
  • Lily Byers (9), 1:33
  • Peter Konstanty (7), 1:34
  • Cormac Clune, (10), 1:37
  • Liam Kellogg (10), 1:37
  • Mary Pennefather (8), 1:37
  • Fr. Noah Morey, 1:41
  • Theresa Dwane (11), 1:41
  • Mary O’Malley (9), 1:43
  • Nate Remington (11), 1:48
  • Ryan Beltran (7), 1:50
  • Moira Haggerty (8), 1:55
  • Madelyn Zadnik (7), 1:57
  • Maddie Given (8), 2:04, 100 laps with Cystic Fibrosis!
  • Sophia Zadnik (9), 2:04
  • Elizabeth Dwane (9), 2:14
  • Patrick Hartung (8), 83 laps
  • Cat Griffin (8), 79 laps
  • Reagan Rose (9), 55 laps
  • Jo Hartung (7), 50 laps
  • Coach Heidi Santschi, (>29), 50 laps
  • Lex Hartung (9), 14 laps

I’m very proud of what we accomplished today.  Not only did we do some small part to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, many of us learned a valuable life lesson that we are capable of so much more than we think we are.

Great job Seton Swimming!

Coach Jim Koehr

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