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When Logan Parker chose to study cystic fibrosis for a class science project, he knew very little about the disease.
Through his studies, the eighth-grader learned about the genetic disorder that primarily affects the lungs. The disease causes thick, bacteria-laden mucus to form and makes breathing incredibly difficult.
Parker learned even more about cystic fibrosis when a beloved Oldham County Middle School science teacher succumbed to the disease last month.
Edward “Chris” Carlton died April 4 while awaiting a lung transplant at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.
On Friday, Parker and more than 100 OCMS students honored their teacher the best way they could – with a kickball tournament.
Parker and a dozen other students in an eighth-grade leadership class came up with “Kicking for a Cure” to help raise money for cystic fibrosis research.
Wearing multi-colored T-shirts celebrating Carlton, 16 teams of kickball-crazy middle schoolers played battled it out – all with a greater purpose in mind.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website, “researchers are blazing new trails” in the search for a cure. That, of course, requires millions and millions of dollars.
At the kickball tournament, OCMS students hoped to raise $1,000 through donations and concession sales.
“We just thought we’d make a dent in furthering that process,” said Lea Collard, an eighth-grader who helped coordinate the games.
On the sidelines Friday was Julie Ice and her husband, Roy.
Julie sat close to the action, laughing and cheering on the students.
Julie was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 1994 at age 23, though she displayed symptoms of the disease from an early age.
Most CF patients are diagnosed as children, and only with recent advancements in treating the disease do they live long into adulthood.
Julie has defied the odds.
She underwent a double lung transplant 18 months ago. A biopsy this week will determine whether her body is accepting the new lungs.
It’s been so far, so good, Julie said.
She is the “Julie” in Julie’s Dream Team, a 3-year-old Crestwood-based organization dedicated to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.
Husband Roy heads up the organization and is the author of the book, “Julie: The Courage to Breathe.”
Logan Parker read Julie’s story as part of his cystic fibrosis class study. His presentation frequently referenced Julie’s struggle, Parker said.
Parker invited the Ices to attend the kickball tournament and accept the money the students raised for cystic fibrosis research.
Roy Ice said the money will go directly to the national CF Foundation on behalf of Julie’s Dream Team.
Julie said she knows the students’ money is a drop in the bucket, but what is more important is the awareness such an event raises for cystic fibrosis.
“Who knows, maybe one of these kids here will be the one who comes up with the cure,” she said.
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