Hockey tourney looks to assist cystic fibrosis disease researchFor the third year, members of Woodbury police and fire departments will take their game to the Schwan’s Super Rink in Blaine Saturday and Sunday, March 3 and March 4 to raise money for cystic fibrosis research.
By: Riham Feshir, Woodbury Bulletin
Joel and Juli Feldkamp don’t know what it’s like to live in a household free of cystic fibrosis.
All three of their children have the genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.
The Woodbury family is one of many others who count on fundraisers like an upcoming hockey tournament, where the Woodbury Public Safety Department will participate, to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
For the third year, members of Woodbury police and fire departments will take their game to the Schwan’s Super Rink in Blaine Saturday and Sunday, March 3 and March 4 to raise money for cystic fibrosis research.
Former Woodbury firefighter-paramedic Andy Peter, who after learning of his niece’s diagnosis, began the charitable venture that made more than $10,000 the first year.
Last year, the team raised $2,532. This year, each team has to come up with at least $1,500 to play in the tournament, said Cory Bauman, team captain and Woodbury firefighter-EMT.
The “Woodbury Warriors” will join 11 other teams from all over the metro in the annual “Checking for Cystic Fibrosis Hockey Tournament.”
Whether it’s how good they play or if they raise the most money, the top teams will face off in the championship round Sunday.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects 70,000 people worldwide, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
CF causes life-threatening lung infections. It also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
One of Joel Feldkamp’s parents carried the CF gene, as well as one of his wife’s parents.
Because both are carriers of the gene, there was a 25 percent chance their children would inherit both defective copies of the gene and have CF, a 50 percent chance of inheriting one copy of the gene and being a carrier and a 25 percent chance of not having CF or carrying the gene at all.
Two of the Feldkamp children were diagnosed as babies and one was diagnosed with CF before birth.
“With our son being diagnosed at four and a half months, from that point on, we haven’t known anything different than having kids with CF,” Joel Feldkamp said. “You take all that that involves and deal with it the best you can.”
Managing the disease requires a lot of respiratory treatments and medicines, he added. Patients have to be careful not to be around others if they’re sick and to avoid other patients with CF if they’re sick.
CF patients also have to be careful around each other, so having all three siblings with CF growing up in the same household requires a lot of hand washing and precautions to prevent germs from spreading, Feldkamp said.
Therapies for CF vary from person to person, according to the foundation.
A large part of the treatment routine is to clear mucus from the airways by using different techniques. Some use vibrations to help loosen the mucus so it can be coughed out.
Medicines include mucus thinners, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and bronchodilators, which are medicines that open the airways for easier breathing.
There has not been a cure for CF yet, but research continues to come up with ways to increase life expectancy and improve quality of life, the foundation’s website states.
Feldkamp said fundraisers like the hockey tournament will help “immensely.”
“Since there is no cure as of yet, every dollar is crucial towards research to help produce new treatments that have been effective and have increased the lifespan dramatically,” he said. “When our son was diagnosed 20 years ago, the average life expectancy was in the 20s.”
Now the CF Foundation reports many people with the disease can live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.
“In 1955, children with CF were not expected to live long enough to attend grade school,” according to the foundation. “Today … an increasing number of people with cystic fibrosis are living into adulthood and leading healthier lives that include careers, marriage and families of their own.”
Joel Feldkamp said his children, now 20, 17, and 15 years old, have done well in school and the disease hasn’t affected their activity level.
“As long as they can take good care of themselves they can remain active,” he said.
His son is a junior at Luther College in Iowa and is spending this year studying abroad in England.
“So he’s not letting the disease slow him down either,” Feldkamp said.
Admission to the hockey tournament is free and open to the public. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will be there to accept donations.
The Woodbury Warriors will play against North Memorial at 9:40 a.m., followed by a game versus the Minneapolis Police Department and another against the Eagan Police Department at 4:40 p.m. on the first day of the tournament.