by Emily Armentrout
On Nov. 6, 2013, Carson Ryne McKee was born to Jarrod and Heather, McKee, Wabash. At his one-week check up, Carson was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Always looking for new ways to stay fit and wanting to help a deserving family, family friend, Allison Eads-Dawes, Catalyst Fitness, decided to head up a benefit to assist Carson and his family.
Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. An estimated 30,000 children and adults in the United States have CF. “Carson has the most common form of the mutation know as the Delta F508. A defective gene that produces thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and can cause life threatening infections,” Jarrod, Carson’s father, told The Paper.
Carson is now seven months old, and he takes enzymes to help aid his pancreas. Carson currently takes over 20 pills a day. This number will increase as Carson grows older. Carson is also treated in the morning and the evening with a treatment called “pats,” where they pat him in eight different locations on the lung area to break up any mucus that could be building up in his lungs. “You would never and will never be able to tell he has Cystic Fibrosis as it’s known as the ‘invisible disease,” Jarrod told The Paper. “He can still play sports and excel in the classroom in the future,” added Jarrod. Starting out, the McKees were making monthly trips to Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis. They currently make bi-monthly visits, but the trips will eventually become every three months until they find a cure. They feel fortunate to work with Dr. Howenstine, who is a leader in the CF world and originally from Huntington.
Another step the McKees have taken to find a cure for Carson is enrolling him in research studies. “As parents, we have a responsibility to other parents and patients to continue to fight for a cure,” Jarrod said of their decision to start Carson in the studies. “In the 1950s, life expectancy was that they wouldn’t live to go to grade school. Today, life expectancy is 37. Although a great increase, it’s still not okay with us. Through these trials, they continue to make breakthroughs in Cystic Fibrosis. I firmly believe we will find a cure/treatment in Carson’s lifetime. We won’t stop fighting until they do,” added Jarrod.
The McKees have become very passionate about CF since Carson’s diagnosis. This passion also sparks optimism as they learn more about the disease. They have also created a group called “Carson’s Fighters,” which directly benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The group has already raised $15,000 with the help of friends and family.
“The one thing we were amazed by was the community support. Both Heather and I were raised in Wabash County and we have had so many great individuals, Southwood and Wabash FCA groups (our alma maters), and businesses rallying around our family to help in any way,” said Jarrod. “Allie Eads approached us to host this event and we were very much humbled,” added Jarrod.
The McKee Hike Benefit will take place on June 21 at the Salamonie Reservoir, 9214 Lost Bridge Road West, Andrews. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with the walk beginning at 10:30 a.m. The entry fee is $20 or $25 if you want to a shirt for the event. Extra donations are accepted and you can also purchase just a shirt if you cannot participate in the event.
If you have questions, contact Allison Eads-Dawes at firstname.lastname@example.org.