On July 18th, my life changed when I got the chance to host the Pac Sun Pipeline To A Cure Gala. It was an amazing opportunity to be involved with Pipeline To A Cure in the first place, but to sit there and listen to cystic fibrosis patient Emily Haager speak was truly a life-changing experience. Her strength and courage inspired me and I know now that I will always be involved with this organization. My co-hosts were Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama and they are my new heroes—they both give so much to this foundation. I can’t really explain the overall feeling of the night better than Emily Haager who told the crowd what the night gave her, and that was “Hope for a cure,” which is something well worth fighting for.—Chris Cote
Please get involved, at pipelinetoacure.com and be sure you watch Emily’s video to see what life with CF is really like.
More than six hundred people gathered on Saturday, July 18th at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach for the Second Annual Pipeline to a Cure gala which raised nearly $300,000 to further research to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, which affects more than 70,000 children and young adults around the globe.
Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama. Photo: Steindler
Legendary watermen Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama (above) co-hosted the event, which was sponsored by PacSun and other companies including BJ’s Restaurants, Coast Benefit Consultants, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, American Airlines, and LAcarGUY .
Throughout the evening, Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama encouraged attendees to appreciate the opportunity we have to live “in the now” and to give selflessly to help CF patients such as Emily Haager. Haager, now 26 years old, spoke to the crowd about the arduous and unrelenting daily routine of more than 45 pills and five hours of breathing treatments that patients endure. During the past year, Haager has been hospitalized several times to fight infections. She was grateful to researchers who noticed that young surfers with CF had significantly healthier lungs, and has since taken up the sport, finding a difference in her ability to breathe and clear her lungs of dangerous mucus when she is in salt water. Doctors determined that inhaling saltwater mist has a powerful effect on rehydrating the lining of the lungs and allowing CF patients to more easily eliminate bacteria-contaminated mucus. This discovery led researchers to develop a hypertonic saline solution, which CF patients around the world now inhale every day. In essence, CF patients now mimic a “surf session” on a daily basis. Emily also talked about how research and new treatments have given her hope that one day, in her lifetime, there will be a cure for cystic fibrosis.
“We are in awe of how the surf industry has stepped up to support our cause,” said Paul Motenko, chairman of the Southern California chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “We have found new partners who truly understand CF and more importantly, are willing to fight with us to find a cure in our lifetime.”
“The connection between the sport of surfing and cystic fibrosis is truly one-of-a-kind. There are very few sports in which active participation can have a beneficial impact on a life-threatening illness – in this case, by actually helping to fight the crippling effects of cystic fibrosis,” said Stacie Perry, Action Sports Marketing Manager at PacSun. “It was an exciting, humbling and successful evening.”
The event also was an opportunity to honor Mike Sullivan of LAcarGuy for his dedication and support for the CF Foundation and other worthwhile causes. Once again LACarGuy Mike Sullivan donated a Toyota Prius for the opportunity drawing and Shawn Parr of Go Country 105.1 FM acted as auctioneer. The evening’s emcee was Chris Cote, editor-in-chief of TransWorld Magazine.
Other surfers lending their support for the CF cause include Jeff Clark, Mickey Munoz, Jeff Clark, Jericho Poppler, Gavin Beschen, Kala Alexander, Michael Ho, Julian Wilson, Lisa Anderson, Sally Fitzgibbons, Travis Mellem. Celebrities who attended include Gabrielle Reece, Eva LaRue (CSI: Miami), Tia Carrere, Tim Salmon (formerly with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Tom Shadyac (director) and performers Chad Petree, Jeremy Dawson, Sisely Treasure, Mikey Martin of Shiny Toy Guns and Kai Kalama and Ryan Kalama of Off White.
Event co-chairs include Paul Motenko, co-founder of BJ’s Restaurants; Jerry Hennessy, co-founder of BJ’s Restaurants; Judy Burlingham, owner of Coast Benefit Consultants; and Todd Elder, owner of Newport Surf Camps.
“I would like to thank all of the sponsors and donors for giving towards finding a cure. All of the first-time attendees had an important opportunity to learn about this devastating disease. Between last year and this year, Pipeline to a Cure has 1,000 new supporters and awe re closer to meeting our goals to educate and engage!” said Judy Burlingham, owner of Coast Benefit Consultants.
At a pre-event VIP party, Burlingham shared a story about Dave Kalama’s recent visit to a teenage CF patient at Children’s Hospital in Boston. This patient had been resisting the hypertonic saline treatments until a visit from the legendary waterman who helped him see the value of the ocean, not only for surfers but also for CF patients. The teen’s parents credit this visit for prolonging their son’s life.
About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the leading organization devoted to curing and controlling cystic fibrosis. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation funds CF research, has 80 chapter and branch offices throughout the country, and accredits a nationwide network of 115 CF care centers, which provide vital treatments and other CF resources to patients and families. To advance the search for a cure, CFF has invested nearly $300 million in promising scientific research in the biotechnology industry since 1998. As a result, the Foundation has more than 30 potential therapies in its drug discovery and development pipeline. Virtually every approved CF drug available today was made possible because of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation support. For more information visit www.cff.org.