My godson, Max, was born just over two years ago to my lifelong friend, Joel. I remember when I got the news on my voicemail, I had to pause outside my apartment, as my eyes welled up with tears of joy. Joel and I met in the kiddie pool when we were three, so this was truly seeing the circle of life, up close. When I didn't hear from Joel for a few days, I didn't think much of it. When I didn't hear from him for a few more, I knew something was wrong.
Max was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic chronic disease affecting the lungs and digestive systems of some 30,000 children and adults in the United States. Max spent his first weeks of life in the NICU, and under the surgeon's knife, and his first months in and out of the hospital with infections that would be mild to 'normal' babies, but life-threatening to him.
Max, thank God, is a very bright eyed, energetic two-year old today. I'm doing my job as Goddaddy, buying him too many toys, making sure he wears his Donovan McNabb jersey every Sunday and teaching him the Eagles chant. I figure in another year, I'll teach him how to complain about the Phillies pitching staff and piss-poor managing. But, while a kid that's full of life, Max, and thousands of other kids in his position will have serious trials ahead, living with Cystic Fibrosis.
He'll be very susceptible to deadly lung infections that put him in the hospital, and will fight to maintain a healthy weight, despite a strong appetite. Every day, he'll need to go through a series of therapies to loosen the thick mucus building up in his lungs that traps germs and bacteria. He's going to have to be extra careful of where he goes, what he does, and who he comes in contact with. Years down the road, he's a likely candidate to develop diabetes. According to the CF Foundation, one thousand kids are born every year who will face the same obstacles.
So, with 1000 born every year, why only 30,000 people in America with the disease? Because, the life expectancy of someone with CF is just about 37 years.
Here's the good news, though. In the 1950s, the life expectancy for someone born with CF was no longer than elementary school age. So science is making incredible progress. The CF Foundation shows a chart of all the therapies being developed, and where they stand, right here. With more money and research, the life expectancy for Max will go up and up. Eventually, there will be a cure. I am dedicated to doing whatever I can to making sure a cure comes during Max's lifetime.
Here's how you can help. In mid-May, the CF Foundation is having its annual Great Strides Walk. Of course, "Team Max" will be there to help raise awareness. I'm going to send some money to sponsor Team Max, and ask everyone to do the same. Every little bit helps. If all HuffPost readers sent in a couple of bucks, we could raise hundreds of thousands to help cure this terrible disease, and give tens of thousands of children and young adults some hope.
Go here to donate to "Team Max."
Let's show that Huffington Post is more than just talk, it's action. Max, his family, and I thank you on behalf of all the children and families walking towards a cure!