Aug. 24 event benefits Harvard woman with cystic fibrosis

August 21, 2013

• Event at Cash Savers in Harvard, Ill., benefits 22-year-old Andi Swenson, Children’s Organ Transplant Association

Staff Report

HARVARD, Ill. — Andi Swenson is the 22-year-old daughter of Eric and Lea Swenson of Harvard Ill. As an infant, Andi was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). CF is an inherited, chronic and progressive disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the Unites States.

CF originates from a defective gene that causes the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the organs, especially the lungs. This leads to life-threatening infections.

With the disease also come complications that continue to threaten Andi’s health and ability to breathe. Over the past eight years, Andi has been hospitalized more than 30 times for lung infections that drastically compromise her lung capacity. Her lungs now function at 20 percent.

Although there is no cure for CF, there is hope with a double lung and liver transplant. With a transplant, Andi will no longer endure her daily struggle with breathing, as the CF gene will no longer be present in her transplanted organs. Andi and her family need help covering the numerous out-of-pocket expenses that will accompany the transplant.

The community of Harvard has gathered together and will be doing a benefit for Andi and the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). The event will be Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Cash Savers parking lot, 1299 S. Division St., in Harvard.

The benefit will be a fun-filled day with many activities planned. The day’s event will begin with a timed race/walk at 8 a.m. T-shirts and awards will be provided for the various age groups. Sign up for the race at the Cash Savers or online at runningintheusa.com.

At 10 a.m., there will be a free kids’ fun run (up through age 8), followed by kids’ carnival games, hay rides, food vendors, bingo tent and pull tabs, 50/50 raffle, bake sale and cake walks (top of every hour). A 32-team bean bag tournament will also be held, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to the benefit. Sign up for the bags tournament at the Cash Savers store in advance or the day of the event.

Open to the public is an auto show with a People’s Choice Award and prizes. Throughout the day, there will be a dunk tank with many local celebrities. Music will be provided from 11 a.m. to noon by Harvard High School Band. DJ services thoughout the day will be provided by Mark Lancaster. A silent auction will also offer items such as one week at a local time share, two foursome golf packages at Plum Tree Golf, Rockford IceHogs tickets and Beloit Snappers tickets.

From the Aug. 21-27, 2013, issue

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