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Penticton  

Far away walk for a cure

Two sisters from the Okanagan Valley are going on the journey of a lifetime for a charity walk to support their niece and daughter, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. 

Karen Nairn of Summerland has been familiar with cystic fibrosis for many years, ever since her sister Elaine MacGillivray of Vernon's daughter Katie was diagnosed as a toddler. This spring, Karen and Elaine will be joining 87 other Canadians in undertaking the first ever "Worldwide Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History: Peru Edition."

"It's pretty exciting, Machu Picchu is somewhere I've always wanted to see, it's been sort of on my bucket list!" Nairn said. 

Three groups of 30 walkers from around the nation will be heading to Peru in May and are fundraising in the meantime, with all money going to CF Canada. Karen has participated in fundraising for the cause before, but never internationally. 

"We saw the opportunity, my sister did, and we just thought, how amazing would that be?" Nairn said. "And combining that with such a great cause, it just seemed like a natural fit."

Nairn set a goal for herself of raising $4,200, and is already within $1,000 of that, but isn't planning to stop fundraising at that benchmark.

"I'm hoping to raise more than the required amount. Over the past few years they've come a long way when it comes to treatment and stuff, but it sure would be great for a cure to be found," she said. 

Watching her niece grow up brought the struggles of those living with CF into harsh reality for her, seeing how much treatment and attention Katie needed, and how as a 20-year-old woman now, she still needs to spend much of her time travelling to doctors and being constantly aware of her respiratory health. 

The disease is genetic and affects the digestive system and lungs. It is estimated that one in every 3,600 children born in Canada have CF, a statistic Nairn can attest to. 

"I've been in contact with a few people who either have a family member who has CF, or themselves, like people I didn't know before, and their struggles, so it makes it all very real," Nairn said. 

To donate to Nairn's Cystic Fibrosis Canada fundraiser, click here. She is funding travel costs herself, so all money raised on that page will go directly to the charity. 



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