Student plans fundraiser for CF research

MARQUETTE – A Marquette Senior High School senior is hoping to raise awareness, and funds for research, on a disease that hits close to home.

Erin Mahaney, 17, suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, an inherited, progressive genetic disease that affects the lungs and pancreas, and puts people with the disease at a much greater risk of having diabetes and arthritis, among other things.

Mahaney is organizing a ski and snowshoe loppet Saturday at the Noquemanon Trail Network’s Forestville trailhead to raise money and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis.

“The example I like to use to describe what it’s like living with CF is to imagine breathing through a straw,” Mahaney said in a written statement about the event. “The first minute or so might be easy. But after those first few minutes or if you start trying to walk around, it gets harder and harder to breathe. For us, the people with CF, that is how we breathe every single day.”

People with the disease have to complete several hours of medical treatment and take dozens of pills daily, Mahaney said.

According to the statement, new drug therapies funded in large part by the CF Foundation allow more than 45 percent of people with Cystic Fibrosis live to be more than 18 years old, though life expectancy still remains at just 37 years.

About 1,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed each year, and more than 30,000 United States citizens have suffer from it. Roughly 30 to 40 people with Cystic Fibrosis live in the Upper Peninsula.

Saturday’s ski will be a noncompetitive 5K course and the snowshoe will be a 2K course.

The cost to participate is $25, which includes a full day trail pass on the Noque, lunch and raffle tickets for several prize drawings.

Registration begins at 10 a.m., with the event starting at 11 a.m.

All proceeds will be given to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which Mahaney said has served to benefit her own life.

“I have benefited in so many ways from the medical advancements funded by the CF Foundation,” Mahaney said .

“I want to show my appreciation by raising funds right here in my home – the Upper Peninsula.”

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is