Aven Palmer has a beautiful smile at nine months old.

Aven Palmer has a beautiful smile at nine months old.

For eight months of her little life, she has lived with Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic genetic disease that affects the lungs. People living with this disease must take hundreds of medications a week and take additional treatments every day. For Aven's family, Ryan and Autumn (Lawrence) Palmer, life has not been easy. To help this local family, friends, family, students and co-workers are planning a Zumbathon.

A popular form of dance exercise, Zumba, will be guided by 12 instructors from across the area at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 at the Carthage High School gymnasium. Besides fun dance, there will be T-shirts, raffles and prizes for Aven supporters – proudly declared Aven's Avengers.

“I am extremely grateful for what my students and colleagues are putting together, but I want to bring awareness to the community about Cystic Fibrosis,” said Autumn Palmer, a science teacher at CHS. “Even though it is rare it has amazed me how many families in southwest Missouri are battling this horrific disease. We are just the 'new kids on the block' and are in the early stages of this journey. I think awareness about this disease comes and goes. I feel helpless as a mother; there is not much than I can do, but I feel a need to help educate, inform and gain supporters for the fight against Cystic Fibrosis.”

Those wishing to participate may sign up at any CHS Lady Tiger home basketball game for $20. The first 100 registrations will receive a T-shirt, raffle tickets will be $1.

Cystic Fibrosis affects 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. A defective gene causes the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs, leading to life-threatening infections. One in 25 people of European descent is a carrier of the gene that causes CF. When both father and mother are carriers, there is a 25 percent chance their child will have CF.
More than 45 percent of the CF population is 18 or older. The median life expectancy for a person with CF is the late 30s.