During a scheduled Sept. 19 fundraising event to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Dorothy Gillian and her husband, Tim, will give partygoers a small dose of what life is like for their daughter, Anna. At the age of 4 months, Anna Gillian was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and has lived a life peppered with hospital stays, injections and therapies. Looming over it all is a life expectancy of only 37 years.
The good news for Anna, 22, is that when she was diagnosed doctors said she would be lucky to survive her teens.
That treatments keep improving – along with their daughter’s qualify of life – is part of what drives Dorothy and Tim Gillian to continually support cystic fibrosis research.
“You want to let people know that what she deals with isn’t fun, but that she does real well,” Dorothy Gillian said.
The event being held this month, Annapalooza, is the cornerstone of the family’s push to raise $100,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Gillians will be honored by the organization in October during an annual black tie dinner. Anna, a college student studying architecture in Kansas, is slated to give a speech during the gala.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease affecting the lungs and the pancreas. Mucus in the lungs is typically thicker than normal, which allows bacteria to flourish. With each new infection comes scar tissue and a diminished capacity to draw breath.
The pancreas, meanwhile, doesn’t produce enzymes necessary for digesting foods, forcing patients to take enzyme supplements.
The September fundraiser is being supplemented by additional efforts, including partnerships with area merchants. In early August, Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor and Team Blonde donated a portion of their sales to the cause.
Following Annapalooza, which begins at 6 p.m. at St. Bernardine School, an after party will be held at Healy’s Westside on Madison Street beginning at 11 p.m. Donations of $5 will be collected at the door, and a band featuring Mike Stirk, a consulting engineer to the municipality, is scheduled to perform. Stirk said two of his cousins died as a result of cystic fibrosis.
To donate to the Gillian’s fundraiser, or for event details, visit www.annapalooza.com.