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STL Personalities
Aug 24, 2011


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Get Involved: Run For Roses

Support one St. Louis woman’s journey to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.
Story: By Alexis Zotos, Photos by Shannon Duggan

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Everyone has someone they would do anything for—even run to the end of the world and back if they could. For Colleen Caul, that person is her little sister, Katie Caul, who was diagnosed at age 21/2 with Cystic Fibrosis. They began running together seven years ago as a way of strengthening Katie’s lungs. Now, Colleen is embarking on the run of her life—journeying from the Arch to the Big Apple—to raise money that will help find a cure once and for all.

Running for Life
In mid-July, family, friends and CF supporters gathered at Kiener Plaza to show their support for Colleen as she began her epic 1,000-mile, 65-day run from St. Louis to New York City. Run for Roses is Colleen’s labor of love to help spread awareness and raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research with the hope that each mile will bring her one step closer to helping find a cure. At the time this issue went to press, Colleen had already raised an impressive $30,000 for the cause, with a goal of reaching $50,000 by the race’s conclusion on Sept. 23.

“One step at a time, we can make each breath a little easier for those living with CF,” Colleen says of her Run for Roses, which was named after the symbol for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Katie’s middle name.

The life-threatening genetic disorder, which causes mucus to build up and clog parts of the body, affects 30,000 people in the US; however, most people know little about it. Colleen hopes to change that.

“I wanted to do something crazy that would get a lot of attention,” she explains. “I hope the run will give a big push for CF because the more people know about it, the more it helps put CF on the map.”

Along the 65-day journey, Colleen has been interviewing families dealing with CF and plans to share their stories, as well as her own, in a documentary. She’s also hosting rallies along the way and staging a personal performance about how running saved both her sister’s life and her own.

“As a sibling, it’s a scary disease; running has been very therapeutic,” she explains.

Down the Road
As Colleen enters the homestretch of her run this month, be sure to visit runforroses.com to track her progress and find out how you can participate in efforts towards a cure. Colleen is inviting New York-area runners and bikers to join her for the last leg of her journey—along with her sister, Katie, who plans to run the last five miles to the finish line. St. Louisans can also donate to Run for Roses, or volunteer with the Gateway Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which aims to provide funding for some of the best minds in science to help find a cure for the genetic disease. Each year, researchers make strides in drug development and gene therapy, and the life expectancy of people with CF continues to rise.

Even after Sept. 23, Colleen doesn’t plan on hanging up her running shoes anytime soon. The run has inspired her to start her own nonprofit, The Rose Foundation, for which she plans to run a marathon every other year to continue raising money for the cause. With your support, Colleen says, CF might one day stand for “cure found.”

 


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