The Centennial Soapbox
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65 Roses Oval Logo

You'll found out more about why I'm posting this in a couple of weeks, but I wanted to post a blog about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. CF is something that weighs heavily on my mind around this time of year, as I lost a friend to the disease, but it's a disease that many aren't very familiar with.

CF is a chronic disease that infects the lungs and digestive system. It causes the body to produce an unusually thick mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections, as well as obstructing the pancreas and stopping natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. There is no cure for CF, but it can be treated by taking medicine that induces strong coughing in order to clear the lungs of the mucus. The disease affects 30,000 people in the United States, and 70,000 people worldwide. 

CF is often associated with 65 Roses, and family members of CF victims are often presented with 65 red and white roses, though blue is usually the associated color. This is the story of 65 Roses.

65 Roses is what some children with Cystic Fibrosis call their disease because the words are much easier for them to pronounce.

Mary G. Weiss became a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 1965 after learning that her 3 little boys had CF. Her duty was to call every civic club, social and service organization seeking financial support for CF research. Mary's 4-year-old son, Richard, listened closely to his mother as she made each call.

After several calls, Richard came into the room and told his mom, "I know what you are working for." Mary was dumbstruck because Richard did not know what she was doing, nor did he know he had Cystic Fibrosis. With some trepidation, Mary asked, "What am I working for, Richard?" He answered, "You are working for 65 Roses." Mary was speechless.

He could not see the tears running down Mary's cheeks as she answered, "Yes, Richard, I am working for 65 Roses."

Since 1965, the term "65 Roses" has been used by children of all ages to describe their disease. But, making it easier to say does not make CF any easier to live with. The "65 Roses" story has captured the hearts and emotions of all who have heard it. The rose, appropriately the ancient symbol of love, has become the symbol of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

65 Roses is a registered trademark of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

To find out more about Cystic Fibrosis and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, visit www.cff.org/aboutcf.

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