By Traci Chapman
For the Kretchmar family, hospitals and doctors, treatments and tests are a major part of life, but so too is incredible expense, time and upheaval.
It’s a life of challenge but also of the greatest gift imaginable, Sharine Kretchmar said – son Jaxon, who was born with Cystic Fibrosis.
What that means is a condition that impacts every part of the family’s life, a physical, emotional and financial challenge that could overwhelm many, but which strengthens their bond – and the Kretchmars’ belief they are incredibly lucky to live in a place where they’ve always known they are not alone.
“We have been blessed with such wonderful family and friends and it’s always amazing how giving the community has been,” Sharine Kretchmar said. “That’s something that always stands out.”
Among a “uniquely giving” community, one organization has led the way, she said. But, for that group – Mustang Masons Lodge 407 – lending a hand to the Kretchmar family has been a gift to them.
“We’ve always been touched by the Kretchmars – what they’ve gone through, their strength, their determination, their love, their devotion,” Mason Bill McCormack said earlier this year. “It’s easy to want to be a part of making things just a little easier for them and it meant the world to us that we could do that.”
Masons’ help has come, through the years, from one of the organization’s most recognized fundraising efforts – a Saturday breakfast open to the public, which not only benefits the family but also brings people together for support and a chance to spread the word about what CF is truly all about, Sharine Kretchmar said.
It’s information important to a lot of people, she said. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, about 30,000 individuals across the country have been diagnosed with CF; another 10 million – one in about every 31 Americans – carry the CF defect in their genes but don’t have the disease.
Those afflicted with CF inherit the disease gene from both parents.
The sheer numbers of those dealing with a disease that currently has no cure, and which means a shortened life span for CF patients, means awareness and research are paramount. That’s why Kretchmar and her husband Brian work closely with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – not just for their own son, but for others facing CF, she said.
“We have personally seen how the money raised from fundraising events benefit not only just Jaxon but all those battling CF now and offers them real hope for a better quality of life and, hopefully, one day a cure,” Kretchmar said.
A cure would mean the world to patients not only dealing with severe issues with their lungs, but also their kidneys, liver, pancreas and intestine of those afflicted with it. For
Jaxon, those issues meant seven CF-related surgeries and several extensive hospital stays in his eight years.
But, it’s not just those major events that are a challenge – it’s the everyday routine the Mustang Trails student and his family go through, the 40 pills he must take each day, breathing and special vest treatments morning and evening; and, because CF is progressive, the outlook for more surgeries and hospitalizations in his future.
Saturday’s fundraiser breakfast will be held from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. The cost is $5, which includes a country breakfast that features scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage, grits, biscuits and gravy and pancakes.
Mustang Masons Lodge 407 is located at 406 E. state Highway 152. More information can be found online at http://mustangmasons.org/wp/, on the group’s Facebook page, located at https://www.facebook.com/MustangMasons/ or by calling 405-256-6310.