By Paul Struck, Editor
The passion the Kevin Lux family of rural Cherokee has for cystic fibrosis research is readily defined by looking into the loving eyes of their active 3-year-old daughter, Christa, who has been diganosed with the disease.
That passion has led Christa's mother, Carrie, to become extremely active in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's ambitious medical research program targeting state-of-the-art drug discovery research that will hopefully lead to an eventual cure for the terrible disease affllicting 30,000 children and young adults in the United States.
In regards to that CFF program, Carrie, and Cherokee friend Lisa Vandelune, whose life also has been touched by a friend stricken with the disease, have organized a fun and entertaining "Rock The Block 2005" street dance scheduled for Saturday night on North 4th Street in downtown Cherokee.
The street dance benefiting the CFF research program also features a hog roast by the Cherokee County Pork Producers, a beer garden, concession stand, and rockin' music by "Ten-Sixteen," a popular classic rock and roll band out of Sioux City.
The street will be blocked off and the hog roast will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m., with the dance following untill 11 p.m. The beer garden and concession stand wil be open throughout.
All funds raised by the event will go to CFF research so a cure may be found to stop the suffering of CF's 30,000 victims.
"For anyone not familiar with cystic fibrosis, we can tell you it's a genetic disease which affects the tissues composing the lungs and intestinal tract," explained Lux.
"It was unknown to us that CF had ever occured in either of our families, yet we learned that each of us carried one recessive copy of the gene before Christa was born. We also have a 6-year-old son, Devin, who we never had reason to suspect CF with, as he is very healthy.
"Statistics say that as many as one in 20 of us carry this gene, but it would never express itself unless a child is born to two carrier parents. The chances then become 25-percent with each pregnancy that the child may have CF. It is possible for CF to be secretly passed along in a family for generations due to these factors."
Carrie goes on to explain that respiratory treatments will account for many hours of Christa's life to compensate for the irregularities in her lungs. Each morning and night she spends time inhaling medications to open her airways, and using several different chest physio-therapy techniques to break up anything abnormal which may be obstructing her lungs.
In a "healthy" day, Christa takes many pills throughout the day, including every time she eats, along with vitamins her body is able to absorb properly.
"Christa has been excitedly showing her relatives this summer how she has learned to swallow her capsules whole," added Carrie. "That was a big accomplishment for us as it meant a lot less work to get the pills into her system throughout the day."
Fresh air and activity are important to kids with CF and the Luxes work hard to find a healthy balance between limiting her exposure to viruses and bacteria which might be harmful to her, and letting her enjoy a full and normal childhood. A simple cold to others could become threatening pneumonia to CF victims is not treated aggressively.
"Anyone who knows Christa would agree that she is a spirited little gift from Heaven," added Carrie. "She does not let the burden of CF keep her down. She loves to swing and climb and play outdoors, and can do pretty much everything all other 3-year-olds love to do. Her dad said from the beginning that Christa is a fighter, and we are standing beside her to fight this battle with all we've got."
Such passion and labors of love by Lux and Vandelune stand as stark testimony to their determination to fight the ravages of CF with everything they have.
Saturday's Cherokee street dance benefiting the CFF's stepped-up research program can become a major force in that fight, helping to ensure that Christa and the other 30,000 CF victims one day soon can live full and meaningful lives.
"Although CF is a very complex disease affecting several organs of the body, our prayer is that God will allow a true cure be discovered for Christa's lungs," concluded Carrie.
"We believe that with the support of our family, friends and community, we can send a large check to the CF Foundation for further research for Christa and the 30,000 other kids and young adults across the nation."