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300 people walking to make a difference, raising money for Cystic Fibrosis

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -

Over 300 people gathered in Beutter Park in Mishawaka Saturday afternoon, walking for a cause and for life.  But it wasn't just about raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, it was about supporting one another.

Ethan Clem is a self-proclaimed fighter.

At eight years old, Clem walked with over 300 people for a disease he knows too well: Cystic Fibrosis.

"It's a genetic disease that affects the lungs," explains Laura Clem, Ethan's mom.

She's also a chairwoman of the Great Strides Walk, a fundraiser the family started when Ethan was first born.

"We were very upset obviously. We were really shaken and taken off guard," says Clem. "We needed to get on board and raise funds. That was the only thing we could do as a family.

A family who's first walk was joined by only a handful of supporters, and has exponentially grown every year.

"A lot of kids are diagnosed every year with Cystic Fibrosis. It's one of those things, you don't know how many they are, until it's in your life," adds Clem.

Supporters taking one step at a time, to make any difference they can.  

The money raised is to find new medications and treatments for the disease.

"The money goes straight to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and they use that to help find drugs to better the life expectancy of these CF patients," Clem says.

Patients, like her son.

"Ethan was able to start one just this past October, and it's made a huge difference," she adds.

Each step taken, is one to help save lives.

"It's because of parents all across the country, like us, that we get to say we helped find a cure for CF," says Clem.

"Because it helps me live," adds Ethan. 

The Clems said they hoped the fundraiser would help them reach their goal of raising $62,000, and they were fully expecting to meet that number by the end of the day.

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