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Cyclist Plans Cystic Fibrosis Charity Ride at Maritime Gig

Gig Harbor resident Eric McGinnis is planning to ride a stationary bike at the Maritime Gig Festival for 48 continuous hours and hopes to ride over 500 miles to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis. He gets his inspiration from his young friend Lily Paulson, also from Gig Harbor, who, at 8 years old, has faced the challenges of living with Cystic Fibrosis since the day she was born. From a special booth at Skansie Brothers Park, Eric will spin the wheels on the bike beginning at 4pm Friday, June 1st, through 4pm Sunday, June 3rd. Thousands who attend the Gig will have an opportunity to cheer him on, learn about Lily and Cystic Fibrosis, and donate to help find a cure.

Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States and nearly 70,000 people worldwide. The disease clogs the lungs with sticky mucus that can lead to life threatening lung infections. It also affects the body's ability to break down and absorb food. To battle her disease, Lily takes 32 pills and endures several hours of lung therapy each day. She can't swim in swimming pools for fear of bacterial infection and can't have any visits from anyone who has even a sniffle. "Cystic Fibrosis as a disease and as an organization doesn't get a lot of attention," says Eric. "People don't know what it means and what it is like to have this disease. Every time Lily eats something she has to take a pill. I can't imagine a parent’s worry or distress over the health of a child with Cystic Fibrosis." Eric took an emotional pause and wiped a tear from his eye before continuing. "But you should see Lily. She plays soccer like any other kid, and her courage is only exceeded by her smile. She's so impressive."

Eric expressed a bit of anxiety about keeping the wheels spinning on a bike for 48 hours at the Gig. "It's not the sleep deprivation I get anxious about, but since I'm a diabetic, insulin management for 48 hours is really important ." You can learn more about Lily Paulson and Cystic Fibrosis by visiting Eric's booth (located near the restrooms) at Skansie Brothers Park during the festival. "I get to take a quick trip to the restroom every three hours and then hop right back on the bike!" Eric said with a grin. "The entertainment schedule looks great and I can't wait for the Shy Boys on Saturday night!" Donations to the Cystic Fibrosis organization will gladly be accepted at Eric's booth. For more information visit: http://www.cff.org/Great_Strides/ericmcginnis

Information courtesy of the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

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