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Members of the Carthage community join to support one of their o - KOAM TV 7

Members of the Carthage community join to support one of their own

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Cystic Fibrosis affects 30,000 children and adults in the United States.  For those affected in Southwest Missouri, treatment often involves a drive to Kansas City or St. Louis, a long with a strain on the pocketbook.
Two-year-old Aven Palmer is happy and full of life.  However, it does take effort to keep her feeling that way.
"Before she eats anything, she has to have enzymes to help digest her food," her mother Autumn Palmer said.  "Everyday she goes through different breathing treatments to help loosen the mucus.  It helps open the air ways."
Aven visits Children's Mercy in Kansas City every couple months for treatment.  Her parents say she is not the only one in the Four States affected by the genetic disease of Cystic Fibrosis.
"We've been shocked by the number of individuals in Southwest Missouri that actually have CF," Palmer said.  "So there is a community here locally."
Nearly 100 people in the community turned out for Friday's three-hour Zumbathon.  Part of the registration proceeds will go toward a therapy vest for Aven and the rest will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
"Because of the support of events like this and donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundations, they are often coming up with new therapies to help extend the quality of life," Palmer said.
And Aven's parents aim to improve that quality of life as much as possible.
"No parent wants to be told that their child's life is limited," Palmer said.  "But we wouldn't change a minute. We call her our lover, she loves to give hugs."
It's that loving personality that drew so many people out to support her.
"Aven is a beautiful little girl," said Mandy Whit, Zumba Instructor and Coordinator.  "She is so full of life, she's always smiling and laughing.  I cannot get over how much she has to go through on a daily basis."
"She's just a sweetheart and you can see her personality shining through," Palmer said.
In the 1940's, the average life expectancy for a child with Cystic Fibrosis was one year of age.  It is now 37 and a half years.
Carthage High School is accepting donations for Aven's family.
The family encourages the community to donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
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