Walking With Love: Community comes together to raise funds, awareness for Cystic Fibrosis

Published 8:25 pm Friday, May 12, 2017

Sadness and strength marked the fourth-annual Cystic Fibrosis Walk-A-Thon at Hunter Elementary — sadness for those loved ones lost to the disease and strength to support those currently battling CF.
The school began the CF Walk-A-Thon in 2014 after Hunter Elementary student Bethany Holder died as a result of complications from Cystic Fibrosis. The following year, a former Hunter student, Bryanna Nelson, lost her life to the disease.
Among the guests of honor at this year’s event were Devin Wellman, a 4th-grade student at Hunter who is living with CF, and Austin Lowe, a Junior at Unaka High School who is also battling the disease. They were joined by two local adults who are also living with Cystic Fibrosis — Whittney Griffith and Heather Yancey.
The ceremony began with remembrances of those who have passed.
“Bethany would have been in high school this year, and several of her classmates are here today from Unaka High School to walk with her family in her honor,” said Hunter Elementary teacher Amy Grubb, who helped organize the event.
Family members of both Bethany Holder and Bryanna Nelson attended the event on Friday and took part in the Memory Lap to open the Walk-A-Thon.
Following the Memory Lap, those currently battling Cystic Fibrosis were joined by their friends and family for a Survivor’s Lap.
The keynote speaker for the ceremony held before the Walk was Leigh Ellington, Director of the Knoxville Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She shared some of the advances being made in developing medicines to treat CF as well as progress toward finding a cure for the disease.
“Our job for the CF Foundation is to provide more tomorrows, longer tomorrows, and better tomorrows for those living with Cystic Fibrosis,” Ellington said.
Hunter Elementary Principal Mark Revis spoke to those assembled about the success the CF Walk-A-Thon in years past as well as this year.
“In the past three years, this Walk-A-Thon has contributed over $60,000 to this Foundation,” Revis said. “In the past three weeks, we have raised over $10,000 already. That doesn’t count what is raised and brought in today.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox