living, breathing hope

by katherine stevens
In the 2009 calendar year there will be eighteen Cystic Fibrosis Foundation events here in North Florida. This month they’re introducing something brand-new and fabulous to the First Coast scene. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of North Florida is launching it’s first ever fashion show with a twist, the contemporary version of a black-tie affair. It’s called The Fashion Cure and it’s planned to be an annual soiree.
Local fashionista Linda Cunningham and honorary style icons, Bryan and Leah Barker are hosting an event they’re confident will keep people talking. It takes place on Saturday, February 28th in San Marco, at Linda Cunningham’s premier couture design and fashion house (1049 Kings Avenue). Apropos to the name, The Fashion Cure’s main allure is the fashion show. The digs will feature Linda Cunningham’s Spring 2009 collection and ready-to wear lines with local celebrity models; The Barker’s, Channel 4’s Casey Black and CBS 47’s Dawn Lopez, just to name a few. There will be fabulous fare and cocktails, stellar music, grand auction items to bid on and of course the latest styles from local designers.
“It’s a way to educate our community on CF in a fun way,” says Dana Troeger, the Director of Special Events for CFF of North Florida. “The more people who understand cystic fibrosis and realize the work being done to improve the way of life for those living and battling CF everyday – the more opportunities will come about to raise new funds and ultimately find the cure.” And if there’s one thing Jacksonville people know how to do, it’s have a good time for a good cause.
You’ve probably heard the term Cystic Fibrosis before. You might have known someone who knew someone that had it. Though it affects approximately 35,000 children and adults in the United States, you don’t often hear very much about it.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disease. It substantially impairs respiratory and digestive functions, making the simple acts of eating and breathing a challenge. In 1955, children born with CF often died before reaching elementary school. But today, the current median age of survival is 37 – more than double what is was 25 years ago. There is still no cure, but the efforts and research being done are showing tangible results.
The CF Foundation of North Florida is continually making efforts to educate the public about this serious disease through ongoing events. “[We are] always looking to find a new way to reach out to our community; to share our mission to control and/or cure cystic fibrosis and to spread CF awareness,” says Troeger. “We like to offer new and exciting events that appeal to just about anyone.” Something special about the CF Foundation is that approximately $.90 of every dollar raised is reinvested in the Foundation’s medical programs. That includes scientific research, drug development and patient care.
When it comes down to it, The Fashion Cure event is a way to bring living, breathing hope. It’s a bridge to new research and a way to get down to the real issue: finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. And the facts speak for themselves. For the first time in the history of the disease, there are therapies in the CF Foundation’s drug development pipeline that address the basic defect in CF. If successful, these therapies could add decades of life for people with the disease. Even more, today more than 44 percent of all people with CF are age 18 or older thanks to wise investments made by the Foundation in research and comprehensive care, thanks to money raised by events like The Fashion Cure, and thanks to the people that support them.
To get more information on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and their upcoming events you can visit: or The Fashion Cure website: or Linda Cunningham’s website: You can also call 733-3560 for info.