Run held in memory of young woman taken too soon
Published Sunday, August 28, 2011 7:05PM MDT
Dozens took part in a charity run Sunday, raising money for Cystic Fibrosis – among those taking part, the mother of a young woman taken by the disease in her 20s ran for the memory of her daughter.
Joan McQuitty's daughter Jessie is the inspiration behind the ‘Original Joes Run for the Lung' – even taking part in the first one only months after having a lung transplant.
The surgery was only the third successful transplant of its kind in Canada at the time, both Jessie's mother and aunt donated a part of their lungs to the young woman.
"We each gave up a lobe of our lung for Jessie," Joan McQuitty said.
That transplant prolonged the young woman's life another two years; but she eventually lost her battle with the disease at the age of 24 in 2007.
"She just sort of died in her sleep one night," Childhood friend and run organizer Kate Jirsch said. "[She died] after just complaining about some chest pain and coming down with a cold."
Jirsch was inspired by her friend to organize the first run, hoping to give patients with the disease a fighting chance.
"So many people are here because of her," Jirsch said. "It still feels like she is a part of things."
At the core of the run is the search for a cure to a disease that eventually causes patients to drown from the inside – organizers hoped to raise $15,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in the run on Sunday.
"If we don't raise awareness and we don't make people understand what Cystic Fibrosis is and what a slow, painful disease it is," Joan McQuitty said. "The funds won't be raised to eventually find a cure."
With files from Sonia Sunger