Students ‘climb’ for Cystic Fibrosis

by Abbie Crane

Team Simpson will be getting a good workout in a few weeks – climbing 12,080 steps will give anyone a good workout. Their workout will benefit those suffering from Cystic Fibrosis.

A group of Simpson students are climbing for a good cause on Saturday in Minneapolis, Minn. Freshman Crystal Covington got three other students together to form Team Simpson in order to raise money for the cause.

Team Simpson is made up of Covington, sophomore Jess Leete, freshman Katie Olson and sophomore Afton Allen. Covington contacted everyone in the group and asked for their support with the group.

None of them had ever done anything like that before, but all said they would participate.

Covington learned about the climb when someone she knew died of the disease.

“My ex-boyfriend’s aunt died of Cystic Fibrosis and I did the climb last year,” Covington said.

The group is climbing 12,080 stairs in the IDS building in Minneapolis to present their money to the Cystic Fibrosis research group.

There is no cure yet for Cystic Fibrosis so all of the money they receive goes straight to research for a cure. Team Simpson has $500 and counting thus far. They’ve received donations from faculty, students, their friends and family, the community and local businesses; they made $175 at the Simpson/Central basketball game from people donating their spare change.

Covington and Sophomore Jess Leete approached Jim Thorius, vice president for Student Development, about support from the college.

“Jess and Crystal approached me after speaking to President Byrd about support from the college and I agreed,” Thorius said. “It was all their doing and initiative.”

Leete said she wants to inform more people about the disease.

“Thirty thousand people have the disease and know about it, but 10 million more have the gene and don’t even know it,” Leete said. “So it is good that we are raising money to put toward a cure.”

Covington also said the climb is a good way to spread awareness about the disease because more people need to know about the disease.

Leete said she did some research on the disease because she didn’t know anything about it until Covington asked her if she would participate.

She discovered the average life-span of someone who has been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis is mid-30s, which is another reason she wants to increase awareness.

Simpson also has personal ties to the disease.

Thorius said in the 20 years he’s been here he knows of three students who have had the disease. Two of them died after they left Simpson, but one died while she was still attending Simpson.

“We are also doing the climb in memory of an Alpha Chi who died when she was a student here at Simpson,” Covington said.

Covington said the girl was part of the Alpha Chi sorority and was married to a member of the Lambda Chi fraternity. She died when she was a junior.

Thorius, Covington and Leete all agree it’s a very good cause and they’re excited to be raising money for Cystic Fibrosis.

“I think that those who can, have an obligation for those who can’t,” Thorius said about helping to raise money for those in need.

Leete also said she’s happy to help raise money for research toward a cure.

Thorius said different organizations on campus are always doing philanthropy projects, but it’s always good for the college to be supporting things like that.

“A lot of people don’t know about it,” Covington said, “If we can help, then I’m glad.”