Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is New Zealand’s most common life-threatening genetic condition; Sadly CF significantly shortens lives, however medical advice is UNANIMOUS “people with CF can stay healthier for longer by participating in physical exercise from an early age”.
Breath4CF helps make that happen by ensuring that the financial cost of physical activity is not a barrier.
Breath4CF was established within Cystic Fibrosis NZ, after discussions with medical specialists who agreed that (aside from medications) physical exercise is the best way for a person with CF to preserve their own quality of life, lung function and longevity.
Under the Breath4CF grant fund, financial assistance is given to members so that there is no financial barrier to participating in life-preserving exercise or activity. Assistance is by way of reimbursement for costs such as gym memberships, entry fees, lessons, sports equipment etc. Breath4CF will help towards any physical activity that would produce a health benefit for a person with CF (some restrictions do apply).
That all people with CF participate in physical activity as part of their regular daily life, and that the cost of such activity is not a barrier to participation
Breath4CF started as a result of a journey and a vision. In 2002 Tracey Richardson found herself overwhelmed and overweight, a result of 13 years of struggling to cope with the realities of two children with Cystic Fibrosis. So she set about trying to not just improve her own life but also to make a difference to the lives of people with CF.
Unsure how to do that Tracey pursued fitness as her own personal goal and entered a small women’s triathlon. But it was 8 days before this event that Tracey stumbled on to the path that would set Breath4CF in motion. She heard about a woman with CF, Lisa Bentley, a remarkable professional athlete who competed all over the world in Ironman races. Ironman is a massive triathlon consisting of a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run. Lisa was coming to New Zealand to compete and Tracey want to show her children that exercise from an early age for a person with CF can make a HUGE difference to their health. She wanted to inspire her children.
Tracey and her two children went to Taupo to watch the race and to meet Lisa. During the course of the 17 hour race day, Tracey resolved to do the race for herself, for her own journey, but she also had a vision. She wanted to establish a grant fund that would assist children with CF to participate in sports and physical activities, her own participation in the race would be the catalyst to fundraise for CF.
So Tracey and Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand created Breath4CF and set about fundraising to establish this fund. As part of this Tracey approached the organisers of Ironman New Zealand and with the backing of CFNZ asked them to support her quest. They did and named Breath4CF as the first official charity in the event’s 20 year history.
A full campaign swung into action and the athletes in the field were encouraged to use THEIR Breath4CF on race day and to fundraise for CF. Tracey completed the race in 15hr46mins with her children by her side and together with other athletes raised $120,000 thereby establishing the Breath4CF fund.
Since then Breath4CF has been the official charity for Ironman New Zealand through to 2013. And at Challenge Wanaka from 2014 to 2016. The money raised is being used by the people with CF in a variety of ways. Grants have been made for singing lessons, tennis rackets, club fees, gym memberships, lots of bikes, rugby gear, swimming lessons, trampolines and a host of other items and sessions that are helping to keep CF kids and adults active.
Tracey was honoured in the NZ Government New Years (2005) Honours list, when she was made member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her services to Cystic Fibrosis.
Following continual publicity and requests Tracey agreed to publish her story which was released by Random House in October 2005. Called “Going the Distance”, this is a true story of how one woman, a mother and non-athlete, found herself doing not one but two Ironman events, despite tremendous odds and adversity in order to change the lives of those with Cystic Fibrosis. Reviewed as “riveting, compelling and inspirational” by Air NZ magazine, Travey Richardson’s story will lift you to another level.