LOCAL CHARITY HAS OLYMPIC SPIRIT, SWEETENS LIFE FOR CF PATIENTS

(LOUDONVILLE, NY) – The Donna M. Crandall Memorial Foundation, a local charity designed to help families and patients affected by Cystic Fibrosis (CF), got into the Olympic spirit this year by creating an in-clinic summer surprise for patients and teaming with Make-A-Wish to help make an Olympic dream come true.

Austin Rumph, 9, of Cohoes, is one of three lucky winners of The Donna M. Crandall Memorial Foundation’s summer competition and a $2,012 check. The Foundation strives to provide programs and services that positively impact CF patients treated at Albany Medical Center.

“CF patients spend a lot of time at doctor’s appointments, having various tests done and in the hospital,” said David Crandall, Foundation president. “We know the last place they want to be during the summer is at a doctor’s appointment, so we try to give them something to look forward to each year.”

To coincide with the London Olympics, the Foundation’s 2012 summer giveaway was a Team USA drawstring bag, a water bottle emblazoned with “Road to London” and the Foundation logo, and a $50 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card, which were distributed to patients during appointments at Albany Medical Center’s Cystic Fibrosis Clinic.

Each bag also contained a pièce de résistance created by Shaker Lacrosse players: spray-painted “gold medals.” Each medallion had a number on it, representing the potential gold medal count at the end of the Olympics. One week after the Olympics, the Foundation notified three local patients whose medallions matched the final USA gold medal count for the 2012 Summer Olympics – 46. Each patient received a check for $2,012.

Winners included Marlene Eckert from Clifton Park, Lynn Stackrow from Wynantskill and nine-year-old Austin Rumph from Cohoes.

“Austin kept faithful track of the gold medal count each day,” said Austin’s mother, Dawn. “We are very grateful for everything the Foundation does and this win really picked up his spirits.”

The Foundation also teamed with Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Northeast New York Chapter by donating $15,000 to help a very special dream come true for Kelly Buyaskas, also of Clifton Park. An avid swimmer who has cystic fibrosis, Kelly will be a senior at Catholic Central High School in Troy this fall and has always hoped to experience the Olympics first-hand. Kelly traveled to the 2012 London Olympic Games where she attended the Opening Ceremonies, a variety of swim events and met breaststroke gold medalist Rebecca Soni.

“Our goal is to help make life a little better for patients and let them know that they are being thought about,” said David. “Ultimately, we hope they can focus on their health rather than every-day worries associated with CF.”

The Donna M. Crandall Memorial Foundation offers significant financial assistance to local CF patients/families in need by paying for health-related costs, such as insurance premiums, durable medical equipment, medicine co-pays, and expenses associated with the transplant evaluation process. It also supports CF in-patients at Albany Medical Center by providing gift bags, in-room TV and phone service, a debit card to the hospital cafeteria, and gift cards for nearby restaurants, including Dunkin’ Donuts, Panera and Starbuck’s.

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The Donna M. Crandall Memorial Foundation is a 501©(3) charity established as a formal tribute to Donna M. Crandall, who battled CF for 41 years. A family/volunteer-run charity, it strives to provide programs and services that positively impact CF patients treated at Albany Medical Center.  For more information, go to www.donnacrandallfoundation.org

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of about 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. A defective gene causes the body to produce unusually thick sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and pancreas, leading to life-threatening lung infections and preventing natural pancreatic enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.