When asked how his health is these days, Ethan Trethewey smiles, raises his hand, and gives the thumbs-up sign.
"Good," he told LighthouseNOW.
Ethan, 11, is one of approximately 200 Nova Scotians who have cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. The disease, for which there is no cure, impacts the digestive system and lungs. Complications ultimately lead to death for most who have it.
While many children are diagnosed at birth, Ethan's CF wasn't confirmed until age six. Ethan is now in Grade 5 and his favourite subject is English language arts. He stays active playing soccer, riding his scooter, and running.
His mother, Kari Trethewey, a social worker at the Lunenburg hospital, applauds her son's focus when it comes to his health.
"He does a really good job taking care of himself," she told LighthouseNOW during an interview at her Bridgewater home. "He's a kid who cooperates with everything."
The Trethewey family is organizing the third annual local fundraising event toward CF research, calling it a "run and WOD to knock out cystic fibrosis."
WOD is an acronym that cross-fit enthusiasts would recognize: Workout Of the Day.
The event takes place May 4 at 902 Athletics, off York Street in Bridgewater. Those wanting to complete the event and take a more competitive approach start at 10:30 a.m. with the WOD and 2.5 km run. Those who want to take it casually, without the competitiveness, will start the fun run/walk and/or WOD at 11:30 a.m. A barbecue takes place afterward.
Ethan follows the routine treatment of a CF'er, which includes consuming a multitude of daily medications, which help the body absorb nutrients. There are also three inhaled aerosol masks he takes each day followed by physiotherapy, with which his mother and father help. Ethan's dad is Matthew Trethewey, a self-employed carpenter.
Research into CF, and the resulting medication and treatment programs, tilted the scale to a time when the median age of survival of someone with the disease is now 53 years of age. Many years ago, a child born with CF wouldn't make it to Kindergarten. More than 4,000 people in Canada have CF.
Kari said the family wanted to do something locally to help raise money and support CF'ers like Ethan. The fieldhouse property off Glen Allan Drive hosted the first two events, both of which attracted about 70 participants each time. Those events raised over $2,000 each year.
Kari said this year's walk/run has already yielded over 100 registrants, thanks to the support of 902 Athletics - where she and Matthew are members - friends, family, sponsors, and others. The goal this year is to raise up to $4,000. She said that overall community support has been terrific.
Families with CF'ers shouldn't expend energy on trying to control what can't be controlled, Kari advises, saying it's best to focus on family time, ensuring proper treatments are followed, and the best efforts are made to keep loved ones healthy.
To learn more about the event, go to the online event page on Facebook titled "3rd Annual Run and WOD to Knock Out Cystic Fibrosis."
To register, go to: https://www.comptracker.io/registrations/new?tournament_id=292 or contact Kari at 902-298-3027 or via email email@example.com.
To learn more about cystic fibrosis, log on to www.cysticfibrosis.ca on the internet.