Shelbyville Daily Union

September 10, 2013

Shelby County Cystic Fibrosis fundraiser goes retro with bike-a-thon


Shelbyville Daily Union

---- — A mistake was made in the first article. Makenzie Erwin should have been quoted as saying, “Chris, my husband, was tested for CF. He is not a carrier which means that though this is a genetic disease, my children will not have it.” Only when both parents are carriers can a child be born with Cystic Fibrosis.

This story is the third of five stories about the upcoming Shelby County Cystic Fibrosis Event.

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of more 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. A defective gene and its protein cause the body to produce thick, sticky mucus that clogs the airways and leads to life-threatening lung infections. The mucus also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. Currently, the disease is incurable.

Shelby County first saw the beginnings of Cystic Fibrosis fundraising in 1982 when Lana and Bob Pancoast, parents of Abbie Pancoast Vollmar, organized an annual bike-a-thon. Year after year dozens of children and parents would ride laps for pledges to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This year’s Shelby County Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser will see a revival of the Cystic Fibrosis Bike-a-Thon.

The Bike-a-Thon will be held on Saturday morning, September 28th at Forest Park. The Cystic Fibrosis Bike-a-Thon is free with pledges and donations. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the pool area of Forest Park in Shelbyville.

The ride will be from 9:30-11:00 a.m. T-shirts will be given to all participants. The path of the ride will take the bicyclists around the park.

There will be two categories of riders, those who are younger than 18 years of age and the second category will be anyone 18 or older. Each rider will receive a number and for each five laps or ten dollars raised his number will go into a drawing for a prize.

There will be two prizes awarded in each category. One will be awarded for the most laps, and another prize for the most funds raised. Should there be a tie in laps, then the winner will be determined by the most dollars raised. The grand prize will be a gift card which the contestant may use to choose a new bike. The grand prize will be determined by the most money raised overall by a single bicyclist.

Questions about the Cystic Fibrosis Bike-a-Thon may be directed to Lana Pancoast at 217-774-2351 or to Ann Kiley at 217-774-5085.

In 1977, Abbie was first diagnosed at 2 days old with Cystic Fibrosis, the attending physician warned her parents that her lifespan would be very short due to the gravity of the disease. Thanks to advances in medicine and treatments, CF patients are living longer and more productive lives than ever before. However, the disease is still incurable and continues to cut short many young lives.

Lana Pancoast stated, “We had to do something. We felt we needed to raise awareness and education in our community about this disease. Our mission became to make a difference to our daughter and others like her and to help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raise money so that more research could be done for a cure. The first ride was in 1982. We continued the bike-a-thons for years. The last one was in 2005.”

In 2012, Shelby Memorial Hospital and its foundation sponsored the first Great Strides for Cystic Fibrosis, which successfully raised more than $23,000. At the second annual Shelby County Cystic Fibrosis event, more sponsors are backing the event including SMH, 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 event was enlarged this year to include not only the Great Strides walk, but also Meliah’s 5K Run and the Bike-a-Thon.

Mrs. Pancoast continues, “There are so many parents here in Shelbyville who remember riding in these events when they were young. The kids looked forward to it each year. We hope that those children, now adults, will join us this year and bring their children. It is a wonderful family tradition. Until a cure has been realized, we are not finished with this mission.”

On Saturday, September 28, please join us as we work together to fund a cure for our friends and neighbors with Cystic Fibrosis. You may choose to run, to bike, to walk or just cheer on others as they participate or you may wish to volunteer. To volunteer, please call SMH at 217-774-3961 and ask for Jill Wells. If you would like to preregister for the Bike-a-Thon, Meliah’s 5K Run or the Great Strides walk, please call SMH and ask for Phil Miller or Carol Heiserman, or you may go online to shelbycf.org or MySMH.org.