Going the extra mile

MUMS often walk that extra mile for their children – but, on May 3 one mum will be walking much more further than that.

Ruth Bock will be walking, with three friends including Tamworth’s Sylvia Powsey, the 65 kilometres from Quirindi to Tamworth to raise awareness and funds for cystic fibrosis.

Mrs Bock’s daughter, Heidi, who is the business development manager for Cystic Fibrosis NSW, said she was proud of her mum’s group effort.

Heidi said it all came about because she became aware that our area was a cystic fibrosis hotspot.

“When I found out the Hunter Valley/New England (area) had such a high instance, the highest rate of births for newly diagnosed cystic fibrosis sufferers in the country, (I thought) we need to obviously increase the awareness in that area,” Ms Bock said.

Cystic fibrosis primarily affects the lungs and digestive system because of a malfunction in the exocrine system, responsible for producing saliva, sweat, tears and mucus. There is currently no cure.

Ms Bock said the Hunter New England area had the highest rate of newly diagnosed cystic fibrosis babies in Australia, with more than 20 children diagnosed in the past two years. 

“We actually provide more services to the North West area than even in the metropolitan area,” Ms Bock said.

“Even though cystic fibrosis is a recessive genetic disease, 80 per cent of families have no family history.” 

“The whole family’s lives are turned upside down, with daily medications, regular specialist check-ups and hospital admissions becoming a reality.” 

The route will also host education and information sessions along the way for the local community, including a barbecue breakfast at Werris Creek, family fun day at Currabubula Hotel and dinner at The Post Office Hotel in Tamworth. 

Special guests will join them along the way, including Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson who will walk the last five-kilometre leg into Tamworth. 

Money raised will fund specialist multi-disciplinary outreach teams to the New England area from John Hunter Hospital to reduce the burden of travel (every three months) of families to Newcastle or Sydney for treatment. 

It will also help fund the regional support officer in our area to deliver individual and community awareness and help with emergency financial assistance.

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