A small teenager with a big heart is hard at work raising funds and awareness for the genetic disorder that affects her lungs.
Morgan McKain, 16, started selling bracelets and held a cake walk at her high school, Notre Dame, last year to raise money to support cystic fibrosis research. The Grade 11 student was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at a young age and it has affected her growth. She’s only 1.57 metres tall (five foot two) and weighs 36 kgs (80 pounds).
She is continuing with another fundraiser this May, which is cystic fibrosis month.
On May 27 there will be a demonstration on the impacts of cystic fibrosis on the lungs. With help from the lung association they have real lungs to show the affects of the disorder.
“We have one pair that is healthy and the second pair has something wrong with it,” said McKain. “We get to show them at lunch how lungs work when they are in good shape and when they’re in bad shape.”
McKain had help from her teacher Jennifer Smith in organizing this event. Smith said she had McKain in her Grade 10 learning strategies class and learned a lot more about the effects cystic fibrosis had on McKain.
“We were talking last year and she told me how May was the month,” said Smith. “We raised more than $1,000 and this year we thought we’d ramp it up a bit and focus on getting the students more involved.”
When McKain was younger she used to attend the Great Strides Walk, a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis. However, because she has the disorder she is no longer able to attend.
“With CF you’re not allowed to go around other people with CF because you are more susceptible to sickness,” said McKain. “When you get sick it is in your lungs, so you’re more susceptible to their sickness and you can get what they have.”
Another teacher, Dan Donaghy, is set to dye his hair purple Wednesday as part of the fundraiser. If more money is donated he will also dye his beard. A cake walk is panned for May 29.
McKain moves into Grade 12 next year, and the hope is to do a cystic fibrosis fundraiser as the grad services project.
“She (McKain) was hospitalized at one point during the semester last year,” said Smith. “That brought a huge awareness of what was going on with her. She educated me and we want to educate everyone else.”
McKain recently competed in the Alberta Skills Competition for baking, something she plans to study after high school and one day hopes to open her own bakery.
“You just have to get up and go,” said McKain. “You can’t stay in bed all day, you have to get the motivation to get up and take life as it is.”