By Aubrey Prince
The news of her expected nephew was bittersweet for Julianne Pratt, 20, a junior from Potomac, Md., majoring in photography.
Her eldest brother”s unborn child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis four months before the due date in May.
“It was overwhelming news to hear. I just felt helpless because there”s really nothing that I can do,” Pratt said.
But Pratt”s overwhelming love for her nephew kept her from simply accepting this diagnosis.
After hearing the news that her nephew would have cystic fibrosis, she began brainstorming ideas on how she could help. The idea of a 5k run stood out in her mind.
“I had been to the Rex Lee Run and had seen how successful it was. BYU students are extremely supportive of a good cause,” Pratt said.
With the initial idea in place, Pratt began a letter writing campaign in February asking friends and family for donations. The $6,500 earned through this effort is paying for the 5k expenses.
She has spent months making arrangements to make the 5k a BYU sponsored event, finding commercial sponsors, and publicizing the run.
Saturday, September 29 2001, all of Pratt”s work and planning will come together. Close to 600 registered runners and walkers will be participating in the “run for their lives” 5k at Helaman Fields on BYU campus.
Pratt refuses to take all the credit. Both the Jacobsen Service Center and Bennion Service Group have been involved. Close friends and family have helped, but Pratt has been most impressed by the people she doesn”t know who have offered their assistance.
“I have been so touched by the amount of people who tell me they can”t run in the race, but offer their help. They just keep coming-expressing concern, thanking me for organizing the run, and just donating their money,” Pratt said.
Check-in will take place at Helaman Fields at BYU from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and the race will begin promptly at 9 a.m.
Pratt”s goal is to raise $10,000 through the 5k run and is confident that goal will be met.
All donations will be given to the Utah Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to assist in research.
“When you consider how much time arranging an event takes, and recognize she”s a volunteer, you realize we could not function without people like Julianne,” said Jeff Garets, executive director for the Utah Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure, but also to the expansion and enrichment of life, Garets said.
Pratt does not plan to stop her fundraising after this weekend. She has designed donation jars featuring her nephew that she is placing around Provo. She also plans on making “run for their lives” an annual event.
Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that affects 30,000 children and adults in the United States.
Cystic Fibrosis prevents the body from correctly transporting sodium and chloride within the cells lining organs, such as the lungs and pancreas, to their outer surfaces.
This creates an abnormally thick, sticky mucus that can clog lungs and obstruct the pancreas, preventing enzymes from reaching the intestines to help break down and digest food.
Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis are salty-tasting skin; persistent coughing, wheezing or pneumonia; and excessive appetite with poor weight gain.
Students wishing to participate can still register with a $15 registration fee at the Information Desk in the Wilkinson Center.