Elsie Hamer will have her walking shoes on for the fourth annual Cystic Fibrosis Walk on Saturday, said her dad, Dan Hamer.
“She’s a walking and running freak,” he said. “By the end of the day she might be up on my shoulders, but she’s pretty independent.”
Three-year-old Elsie was diagnosed with the chronic disease as a baby.
Cystic fibrosis affects the lungs and digestive system and can go undiagnosed in children because it looks like a cold or pneumonia, Hamer said.
Awareness of the disease is part of the event’s mission.
“People are learning more and more,” he said. “I’ll tell my story to about a dozen people that day and so will my wife. The more people we get, the more people who will learn.”
Donations will be welcome, but Hamer uses the event to just thank people who have supported him, his wife, Rachel, and their daughters Elsie and Abby.
“I go hug everyone who cares about us,” he said. “There’s no pressure to donate, just come out and walk.”
The Hamers have received support from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since Elsie’s diagnosis and Dan said that he pushes for people to donate to the foundation instead of Team Elsie.
“The foundation has done so much for us,” he said. “I want everyone to benefit.”
Support from the foundation has allowed the Hamers to receive care at Renown Children’s Hospital in Reno.
Hamer said that a new drug called kalydeco may be a “cure” for Elsie since she is one of the 4 percent who carries a gene mutation that will allow this drug to work, but she won’t be able to take it until she is 6.
“We’re optimistic,” he said. “But this is something that we will be involved with for the rest of our lives.”
The Hamer’s family members are involved in organizing events for other children who suffer from the disease from Reno to Virginia City to Carson Valley.
“My sister and parents organized a poker run for a young lady from Reno recently and raised over $15,700,” he said.
Hamer and his family will also participate in a Reno Cystic Fibrosis Walk on June 21 and will join Kiwanis to raise money in Minden for the foundation on July 4.
“This is just the start of things,” he said. “We will always do whatever we can for the foundation.”
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church at 1480 Douglas Ave. in Gardnerville. Games and activities are planned for children and families. The walk will take participants south to Lampe Park and back to the church.
For more information, call the Hamers at 783-8709 or Judy and Gary Williams at 782-4423.