Pam Henslee, the business technology teacher and FBLA sponsor at Curry High, said club members collected more than $600 that will be given to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to help further its research in searching for a cure. Henslee and members didn’t necessarily choose this particular foundation at random, however.
Curry Elementary School student Shawn Anthony was diagnosed as an infant with cystic fibrosis, which is a genetic disease that Children’s of Alabama defines as a “life-threatening disease that causes mucus to build up and clog some of the organs in the body, particularly in the lungs and pancreas. When mucus clogs the lungs, it can make breathing very difficult.”
Henslee said the foundation contacted the school last year, asking if Curry High had a club that would be interested in holding fundraisers to help with donations for CF.
“My FBLA club got together and designed a T-shirt and sold them. We had a picture made last year, but Shawn was in the hospital and couldn’t be in our picture,” Henslee said. “So, this year we just continued on, and we’re going to try to make it a tradition to sell and raise money for cystic fibrosis every year.”
The club, which consists of 21 members ranging in age from ninth through twelfth grade, sold 60 shirts for $20 each to students, faculty and staff at Curry schools and residents within the community.
Anthony, whose grandmother works at Curry High School, posed for a picture Tuesday morning with faculty and students who purchased a shirt. The T-shirts are purple and yellow with the phrase “Help Shawn Kick Cystic Fibrosis.” Even though Anthony has lived with this disease his entire life, one wouldn’t notice by simply looking at his physical appearance and energetic behavior.
Approximately 30,000 people in the United States have CF. Some symptoms of the disease may include: poor weight gain, very salty-tasting skin, constant coughing/wheezing or shortness of breath, and several lung infections and nasal polyps.
When Anthony walked into the high school Tuesday, every person he came in contact with couldn’t help but smile and speak with him. He enjoys baseball, football, basketball, swimming and other activities kids his age are involved in. The only difference is when he’s sick and can’t take part in those sports.
“Shawn is like part of our family. With his grandmother [and grandfather], Jennifer McNair and Chuck McNair, raising him, they’re part of our school family, and it’s something that we could do to help him,” Henslee said.