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May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in the US. Cystic fibrosis is the most common genetic disorder, affecting 70,000 people worldwide, including 30,000 Americans. This brutal disease causes a buildup of mucus in the organs, particularly the lungs and digestive system. Those who live with CF must endure daily physiotherapy to loosen the mucus in their lungs so they can breathe more easily. They must also take enzyme pills before eating anything in order to digest their food. They must also take antibiotic pills daily to try to fight off lung infection. All told, many people with CF must take upwards of 30 pills a day to stave off the effects of the disease. Still, many of them reach a point when only a double lung transplant can prolong their lives. It is a tough road, traveled by tough people.

There is hope, however. New medicines and treatments are currently being developed and introduced. The life expectancy for those with CF is now approaching 40, having doubled in recent decades.

Mel’s Downtown Creamery in Pawcatuck will be hosting a Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Night on Monday, May 20, from 6 to 9 pm. There you can grab a sweet treat and learn more about cystic fibrosis and what those who fight it endure, and show by your presence that you support and stand with the cystic fibrosis community. I will be there, and I hope to see you there as well!

Brad Benson

Westerly

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