Gala attendees raise the paddle


The third annual Pipeline to a Cure East gala will honor waterman Dave Kalama, Saturday, Aug. 2. Cystic fibrosis patients will have the opportunity to paddle with Kalama, renowned standup paddleboarder, who, in previous years, has been involved in Pipeline to a Cure in California.

“We are very excited and honored that he will be coming out here this weekend,” said Colette Odom, Carolinas Chapter Cystic Fibrosis Development Director during a July 28 phone interview.

Gala guests will have the chance to bid on items in a live and silent auction, hear from guest speaker Dr. Scott Donaldson and listen to live music by Jack Jack 180 at The Country Club of Landfall.

The 2014 event, sponsored by the George and Cynthia Mitchell Foundation, serves to highlight the connection between surfing and cystic fibrosis, and to raise awareness and funds for CF research.

Cystic fibrosis, a degenerative disease causing mucus to build up in the lungs, making it difficult to take a breath, affects more than 30,000 children and adults in the United States, the foundation website states.

Pipeline to a Cure originated when researchers noticed CF patients who surfed had healthier lungs than those who did not. A trial conducted in Australia determined inhaling an aerosolized saltwater solution, mimicking a two-hour surf session, aided in thinning the mucus in the lungs of patients.

In addition to giving patients the chance to get out in the water with the legendary Kalama, the foundation welcomes honored guest, Wilmington resident Howell Graham, 48, the longest-surviving patient of a double-lung transplant.

Odom said she hopes to raise as much as $155,000 for cystic fibrosis research, more important now than ever, in light of recent discoveries. For the first time, scientists have developed a drug to treat cystic fibrosis at the cellular level. When the drug, Kalydeco, was originally developed in 2012, it only treated 4 percent of CF patients. The drug is now undergoing a Phase 3 trial in preparation to be submitted to the FDA. If approved, it may treat up to 60 percent of patients.

Odom said although the foundation is thrilled with the progress, it won’t be satisfied until it can treat 100 percent of patients.

“While we are ecstatic, we still have a lot of work to do,” Odom said. “That’s why we have events like Pipeline to a Cure. Because we can’t stop fighting.”

For more information visit the event’s Facebook page or to purchase a ticket, visit


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