Maya’s walk 65km for Cystic Fibrosis
First published on the Herald Sun by Lucie Van Den Berg, 16 March 2017
By the time the runners and walkers reach the end of the 65km fundraiser their chests will be heaving and their breathing will be short, sharp and fast.
It’s a familiar feeling for the children at the heart of their cause; they have cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that damages their lungs and digestive system.
For Jackie and Mark Dalton of Aspendale, it was the result of a blood test not long after Maya took her first gasps of air that would soon take their own breath away. Unknown to them, they both carried a gene that would give Maya a one-in-four chance of having the life-threatening condition.
While initially her diagnosis was devastating, it has motivated her family and friends to raise money for medical research, with more than $100,000 already contributed to the cause in the three-year-old’s name.
“We are never going to find a cure, so supporting scientists in research to do their work and help raise awareness about CF is all that we can do and we are so fortunate to have friends and family support us,” Mrs Dalton said.
Maya takes enzymes to help her absorb nutrients from food, and antibiotics to fight off illnesses, and twice a day she has physiotherapy to clear her airways.
The family were deeply moved when they found out that close family friend Abiah Thorp will take part in the 65km For Cystic Fibrosis on Saturday in Maya’s honour.
“When you find out that your child has got a life-threatening disease it can be quite hard to cope, but when you have friends like this it makes everything a lot easier,” Mrs Dalton said.
“It has been quite humbling and overwhelming.”
Monash Health Foundation director Debbie Shiell said this weekend’s event was unique because it allowed families to collaborate with researchers so projects that will most benefit their children were funded.
“They are such a passionate group of dedicated mums who want to make a difference for their kids and that’s what’s so inspiring,” she said.