Shelby County first saw the beginnings of fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis in 1982 when Lana and Bob Pancoast, parents of Abbie Pancoast Vollmar, organized the first Bike-a-Thon. Each year dozens of children and their parents would ride to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Abbie Pancoast Vollmar said, “I continue to be so grateful and amazed by the overwhelming amount of support Shelby County offers to those of us with Cystic Fibrosis and to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Additionally, I am personally grateful to my family and friends for the countless hours spent ensuring my health and happiness. I truly believe it is a direct result of these efforts by my ‘village,’ that I am able to enjoy marriage and our two greatest blessings, our daughters Reagan and Lily. I could never have imagined, so many years ago when the bike-a-thon began that I would one day watch my children participate in a CF Bike-a-Thon in Shelbyville.”
In 2005, the Bike-a-Thon stopped and was replaced by the Great Strides walk in 2012. This year with the help of sponsors, Shelby Memorial Hospital (SMH), the SMH Foundation, First Federal Savings and Loan of Central Illinois, Villas of Hollybrook, the Shelby Historic House and Inn, Ginger Moss Digital Photography Products, and Killam & England Insurance Agency, Inc., the Cystic Fibrosis event has grown to, once again, include the Bike-a-Thon, Meliah’s 5K Run and the Great Strides for CF walk.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a mission driven charity that devotes its earnings to finding a cure. In fact, approximately 90¢ of every dollar funds research.
Christie Derbin, Executive Director of the Gateway Chapter for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation explained, “You won’t see ads for our Foundation on the television or in glossy magazines. That is because those funds are earmarked for research and care. Research, which has already uncovered some of the answers, is working for a cure. Recently, researchers have isolated the gene and some of its mutations which cause Cystic Fibrosis. They have developed a drug, Kalydeco, which helps about four percent of the CF population. It doesn’t help enough of the mutated genes. Not so long ago, we watched as Cystic Fibrosis children lost their lives before kindergarten. Thanks to our research and development of medication, we are watching people with Cystic Fibrosis mature, marry and have children of their own, but still, too many die young. We are close to solving this terrible disease, but not close enough. We need your help.”
It is not too late to preregister or to volunteer. You may do so by calling Shelby Memorial Hospital at 217-774-3961. If you would like to volunteer, please ask for Jill Wells. If you would like to preregister, please ask for Phil Miller or Carol Heiserman, or you may preregister online at ShelbyCF.org or at MySMH.org.