Taking strides for a cure
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News May 3, 2012 9:58AM
The Nordquist family of Joliet includes Hannah, Phil, Leah, Kathy and Rebekah. The family will participate in Great Strides Joliet in honor of Leah, who has cystic fibrosis. Money raised benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundaiton for research toward a cure.
How to help
What: Team Aiden Benefit
When: 1-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Liquid Therapy, 3501 Channahon Road (Route 6), Joliet
Admission: $5 donation. Kids admitted free.
Etc: Food, raffles, music and $2 bottles
Contact: Angela Corcoran at 815-483-8267.
What: Great Strides Joliet
When: May 12. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Walk begins at 10 a.m. Lunch is at 11:30 a.m.
Where: McKinley Woods, Kerry Sheridan Grove
Etc: 5K stroll, food, beverages, kids activities. The goal is to raise $55,000.
Register or find a team: www.cff.org/Great_Strides
Contact: Heather Kundert at 312-236-4491 or email@example.com.
Updated: June 3, 2012 8:02AM
Aiden Corcoran, 5, of Morris, likes riding his bike, swimming, monster trucks and playing outside with his friends. Leah Nordquist, 4, of Joliet, also likes swimming and biking, as well as reading and playing games and puzzles with her sisters.
Yet, both Aiden and Leah have a life expectancy of just 37 years because of cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease affecting the respiratory tract and digestive system of 30,000 children and adults in the United States.
This is why their parents and friends are participating in Great Strides Joliet, a 5K walk with proceeds benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for continued research.
Aiden’s mother also will host a pre-fundraiser Sunday, with proceeds also benefitting the foundation. These parents would like a cure in their children’s lifetime.
And with friends like Barbara Winter of Channahon helping out, they might get their wish.
Last year, Winter, whose son knew Leah’s father, Phil Nordquist, through Christian Fellowship intervarsity teams, learned about Leah and Great Strides when she received an email from the Nordquists seeking financial support for their walk team.
Instead of donating, Winter decided she would talk, too, and raised $600 for the cause. Her goal this year is $1,000.
“As soon as I saw Leah’s sweet little face, I knew I wanted to be part of it,” Winters said.
Both Aiden and Leah wear a postural vest several times a day to “shake” mucus from their lungs. They also take medications to ease breathing and help their bodies process food.
By 6 months, Aiden, who had been born prematurely, began showing signs of cystic fibrosis. He was constantly congested; his lips would turn blue; and he would struggle to breathe when his mother, Angela Corcoran, laid him down.
At Aiden’s five-year checkup, when the scale showed he had lost 2 pounds in the last year, his pediatrician ordered a sweat test, which was positive for cystic fibrosis.
Despite treatment, Aiden had two more lung infections this year; his new medication causes migraines and stomach aches. Still, Angela said, his overall breathing is much better.
“He’s not congested anymore,” Angela said. “He can finally keep up with all the kids, which makes him feel like every other kid.”
Like Aiden, Leah also spent the first two years of her life being treated for asthma, which often responded poorly to the medication. So when an infant cousin received a cystic fibrosis diagnosis, Kathy decided it was time Leah was tested, too.
Three resources have proven invaluable to the Nordquist family: the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation site for information, the Cystic Fibrosis Care Center at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn for Leah’s treatment and prayer. This last especially helps the family focus on thankfulness to God, not average prognosis, as they do their part in helping find a cure.
“We hope and pray for a better future, trusting God each day with our precious Leah,” Kathy said. “The difference in Leah’s everyday health has dramatically improved since her diagnosis, because we are now treating her symptoms properly. Since this is a progressive disease, Leah follows a rigorous daily routine to help add more tomorrows every day.”