Shamrockin’ for a
Mary Guiney throws a great party to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis
By KATIE VANBRACKLE email@example.com
Pam and Jon Baker of Roswell were expecting their second child when their life changed forever. Their first child, 18-month-old Gavin, was not gaining weight like other babies his age. Trying to coax him to eat was a constant struggle. Doctors labeled him as “failure to thrive,” but that wasn’t good enough for Pam. She kept digging, kept asking for tests, trying anything to figure out what was wrong with her child.
Finally, tests revealed that Gavin had Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a defective gene that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract and other areas of the body. It is a life-threatening disorder and one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults.
Knowing that CF is a hereditary disease, the Bakers immediately asked for in-utero
tests of their
unborn child. Their worst fears were confirmed when the second child also tested positive for CF. The Bakers’ visions for the future of their family completely changed in that instant.
► Mary Guiney models a new shamrock tee
created by UB4Me Apparel for the
Shamrockin’ event. The shirts can be
ordered online from www.sh
irtsthatgive. com. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
12 | northsidewoman.com
| march2012 SPECIAL
Jake and Gavin Baker, both of whom suffer from Cystic Fibrosis, inspired Mary and Chris Guiney to create Shamrockin’ for a Cure.
with CF are diagnosed by age 2 and if treated properly can remain fairly healthy until they reach adulthood, when the lung disease worsens to the point where the person is disabled. Today, the life span for those with CF who live to adulthood is approximately 37 years, a dramatic increase over the last three decades, but still a horrifyingly low number for loving parents to accept.
Today, Gavin is 12 and his little brother Jake is 10. Both “Fabulous Baker Boys” are adorable, blonde boys full of spirit. Gavin is an expert wakeboarder while Jake sings and plays football. Jake’s greatest wish, however, is to become a daddy someday.
Some of the Cystic Fibrosis patients we meet are
already in their 30’s & we know time is running out for them.
It just gives us more fuel to keep doing what we are doing.
Mary Guiney Milton, a close friend of the Bakers, remembers her first introduction
Cystic Fibrosis. “I walked
into the Bakers’ home and saw 3-year-old Jake wearing
sort of vibrating vest and breathing into a mask, which was hooked up to a strange-looking tube machine,” Mary recalled.
She later learned that Gavin and Jake are
hooked up to those machines for two hours each day. The vibrating vest and breathing treatments help loosen the mucus lining their lungs. In addition, the boys must take 35 pills per day, including nutritional supplements and enzymes which help them digest food.
Mary, who is the mother of three sons of her
own, is constantly amazed at the strength and determination Pam exerts in the constant battle to keep her children healthy and happy. “Pam is their lead warrior,” Mary said. “She
gets the boys up an hour before school for their first breathing treatment, then fits the second treatment in between homework and football practice. She is determined that Gavin and Jake will live as normal a life as possible.”
Spending time with the Baker family made
Mary and her husband Chris want to do something to help -- something big that would really make a difference. The Guineys decided that what they enjoyed most was getting people together and having a good time. Their most valuable asset was their extended network of friends and connections. “We decided to throw the rockin’est fundraising party ever!” said Mary. “A live band, great food, free booze, with a St. Patrick’s Day theme. Before we knew it, Shamrockin’ for the Cure was born.” At the first Shamrockin’ in 2009, 140 people attended the event at the newly opened Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. The fundraiser broke even from ticket sales, but raised $10,000 from a silent
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