GARDNERVILLE, NV - To hear that your child has a potentially fatal condition is earth-shattering news for any parent. After learning that their daughter was born with cystic fibrosis, a Gardnerville family is choosing to fight. They are asking for your help to save their daughter, and others with cystic fibrosis.
When asked if she's a princess, 2-year-old Elsie Hamer lets out a monster growl in defiance. At first glance, the energetic toddler looks like any other healthy, happy little girl. However, Elsie is living with cystic fibrosis. Hundreds of hours of her short life have been spent in the hospital fighting recurring respiratory infections, and at home enduring physically demanding breathing treatments. Her mother, Rachel Hamer explains how a vest worn during the treatments rattles her chest to loosen thick mucus that is hard for Elsie to cough up.
The family felt lucky to find they wouldn't have to travel far for help. Elsie was assigned a team of specialists from an accredited cystic fibrosis clinic located at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. With regular visits to the doctor, the Northern Nevada location saves them time and money.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in the 1950's few children with the disease lived to attend elementary school. Today, that expected lifespan is in the mid-thirties. "I really fully believe, in large part because I want to, that Elsie will out live us and science will catch up with the disease." says Elsie's father Dan Hamer. He could be right. Dr Sonia Budhecha, who works at the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Renown says big strides have been made in research over the last few decades. Fortunately the disease is not common, but that means research toward a cure can be hampered by a lack of available research dollars.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raises funds for those developments. They also help families struggling to handle the high cost of medical care. Their work in Northern Nevada continues to grow. Saturday, June 22nd, they hosted their Great Strides Walk-A-Thon at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park.