Cystic fibrosis has knocked out some of the toughest folks around. But one Traer girl has decided to tackle the disease head on, not just for herself, but for the thousands of others who share her story.
Grace Lidgett, age 8, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at just 14 months of age. Since then, she's seen her share of setbacks, as well as her share of successes. Now, community leaders and family members are putting together a benefit to help those striken with this terrible disease.
United Presbyterian Church of Traer is hosting an Auction Day Fundraiser on Saturday, April 13, at the Traer Memorial Building. There will be a bevy of activities sure to bring out lots of folks and, hopefully, lots of donations.
There will be a 50/50 raffle, silent auctions, a bake sale and craft sale beginning at 9 a.m. Doors to the event open at 8 a.m.
Perhaps the most coveted item on the list for potential donors at the auction are football tickets to Iowa, Iowa State and UNI games this fall.
A free-will donation lunch will begin at 11 a.m. and will be served throughout the day, with the live auction beginning at 1 p.m.
For those looking for a chance to show their support in the evening, Joker's Iron Legend Saloon in Traer will be hosting a show by local band Smoking Guns from 7 to 11 p.m. There will be a free-will donation cover charge and donations will be accepted all night long.
Rebecca Tradel, deacon at UPC, has been spearheading the effort to get the word out, and has an up close and personal view of why raising money to combat cystic fibrosis is so important.
"There's no funding for cystic fibrosis research from the federal government like there is with a lot of other diseases," Tradel said. "There's over 25,000 kids affected with CF in the United States alone."
For Tradel, who has been a family friend of the Lidgetts for years, the experience of seeing Grace grow up with the disease is something that has touched her heart. Tradel also had an experience with cystic fibrosis years ago and has seen the progress made since then.
"My cousin passed away from CF before making it to grade school," Tradel said. "Now the life expectancy-healthy, quality life expectancy-is in the mid-30s."
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening and usually terminal disorder that causes severe lung damage and nutritional deficiencies. The problem is the buildup of mucus that clogs not only the lungs, but other vital organs like the pancreas.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that is inherited from parent to child and is diagnosed at about 1,000 new cases per year in the United States. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, about one in every 31 Americans are carriers of the defective CF gene, but do not have the disease.
Grace, who has dealt with the disease most of her life, doesn't let it get her down. With the help of her family, Grace has maintained a fairly normal life for a little girl facing such immense challenges. That's not to say the road has been easy.
"When I am at the doctor I have to most of the time get a shot," Lidgett said. "I have to take a breathing test and get my heart listened to."
"I hope someone will make meds to cure CF around the world. I keep myself healthy by doing a vest & neb, taking pills, exercising, eating lots of food and praying and hoping CF will not be a sickness anymore," Lidgett said.
For Tradel, seeing Grace grow up and face this tough disease, along the the advancements in medical treatment, has given her hope for the future.
"Grace is independent and strong and just wants to do it by herself, she's just a fighter," Tradel said.
100 percent of donations received from the April 13 event will go directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-Iowa Chapter.
Donations are needed and welcomed for the bake sale, auction and more. If you have something you'd like to donate, please contact Rebecca at 319-240-5027 or 478-2425.