Two dads push fundraising campaign this Father's Day weekend
This Father's Day, two dads are throwing their support behind a national fundraising campaign. CVS/pharmacy is raising money for both the ALS Therapy Alliance and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Supporters can make donations online or in about 7,000 stores nationwide. Our Beth Croughan has more on why these two fathers are taking on the cause.
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SLINGERLANDS, N.Y. -- Pamphlets and brochures cover the table John Franklin and Marc Cassalina are sitting around. Besides both being fathers, they are connected by the foundation whose name is printed on those papers.
"If we're given this challenge, we have to make it better in some way," said Marc Cassalina of Milton. He's also a volunteer and fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 people in the United States. Over more than two decades, the two men have made it their priority to raise money to help find a cure. John was told his daughter Elizabeth, who has Cystic Fibrosis, would only live until she was 10.
"We found that to be unacceptable, so we decided we would do whatever we could to help lengthen that," Franklin said, who also works with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
She is now 28, a teacher and married. "The average age now is up well into the thirties. So everybody's beating the odds now and it's because the foundation is driven to find a cure for this," he said.
Marc's son Eric is turning 21 next month and he too has already surpassed his life expectancy. "He sees himself graduating college, having a career, having a family, having children of his own," said Cassalina.
But those are milestones the Cassalina's family won't mark with Eric's sister, Jena. A young girl who her dad describes as having a charismatic personality, one that would light up a room. "Jena had a harder go at CF, it's a progressive disease, so children, anybody with it will tend to get worse every single year. And Jena ultimately lost her battle in 2006, and she was only 13," said Cassalina.
Losing Jena inspired Marc and his wife to work harder to help Eric and the other thousands of kids and now, adults beat their battle.
A battle John Franklin is just as committed to. And confident, it can be won.
"I want my daughter and all the young adults and children with Cystic Fibrosis to be able to lead normal lives when we find a cure for this disease. So, it's not a question of how much time. It doesn't matter, it's whatever it takes," he said of their efforts.
CVS/pharmacy's Advancing Medical Research Campaign will continue through the end of June.
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