WWU students raise awareness, funds for cystic fibrosis

ayla Kemp does her therapy as an in-patient at Women’s and Children's Hospital in Columbia.
Jayla Kemp does her therapy as an in-patient at Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Columbia.

Fulton youngsters Jayla Kemp, 9, and Dylan Kemp, 3, share more than a last name. The siblings share a disease—cystic fibrosis.

It’s a disease that captured the attention of students at William Woods University, where Michelle Stephens Kemp earned both her undergraduate and MBA degrees.

“Every day, my two beautiful children take extraordinary means to maintain their health,” said Kemp, who is director of professional development at the University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business.

“Jayla and Dylan spend several hours completing breathing treatments and airway clearance, they take dozens of pills and eat a

Dylan Kemp gets a breathing treatment at home.
Dylan Kemp gets a breathing treatment at home.

special diet.”

Even still, she explained, school absences, medical procedures and hospitalizations are unavoidable.

“Our family is committed to helping improve the quality of their life as well as extend their life expectancy.”

That commitment is shared by the communications senior seminar class at William Woods. The students in that class are planning an event to raise awareness and funds for a disease that affects 30,000 people in the U.S. They will hold a trivia night at Shakespeare’s Pizza south location April 22.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease characterized by the buildup of thick, sticky mucus that can damage many of the body’s organs. The disorder’s most common signs and symptoms include progressive damage to the respiratory system and chronic digestive system problems. The features of the disorder and their severity vary among affected individuals.

The trivia night at Shakespeare’s is designed to gather the community together to support the cause. The competition, which starts at 6 pm., will last for two hours, but people are welcome to stay as long as they like; free pizza will be provided.

Jayla Kemp gets a check-up at the hospital.
Jayla Kemp gets a check-up at the hospital.

Admission for teams of three to eight is $25 for adults, $15 for students and $10 for those who only are interested in watching. Children 12 and under are free, but a donation is encouraged. A silent auction of gift baskets, gift cards and more will be held 6 – 8:30 p.m.

Sam Parsons, a senior from Centralia, Missouri, is a member of the senior seminar class and one of the individuals promoting the event.

“We chose CF because we wanted a cause that affected many, but one people didn’t know much about,” Parsons said. “Someone mentioned cystic fibrosis and as we did more research, we picked it unanimously. It spoke to all of us.”

She explained that the main goal of their events is to raise awareness within the mid-Missouri community, but raising funds is a secondary mission.

“Our hope is to accomplish a heightened awareness of cystic fibrosis as a disease, as well as knowledge of the amount of people who are

“Cure CF” is a message with special meaning for Jayla and Dylan Kemp.
“Cure CF” is a message with special meaning for Jayla and Dylan Kemp.

carriers,” Parsons said. “As a class, we also will benefit from the real-life experience of planning, promoting and conducting a big-scale event. This is something we have been preparing for all four years of college.”

The class has conducted a number of other events this semester, including “Swinging for Cystic Fibrosis,” softball and baseball games to benefit CF. T-shirts, baked goods and 50/50 raffle tickets were sold at these games.

The students also held an event in Tucker Dining Hall where students could register to win free movie passes. Facts and activities about CF, information about the upcoming events and trivia night registration forms were available. They also hosted Michael Burke, who spoke about his battle with cystic fibrosis and how it has affected his life.

To register for the trivia event, email Cysticfibrosisawareness@yahoo.com.