Bowl-a-thon Raises Funds for Cystic Fibrosis

Samantha Stayzer, of Welland, ON, was 9 when she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Now 24, she has been volunteering for her local Cystic Fibrosis Canada chapter for six years, and held her first Bowl 4CF fundraiser at Bowl-o-Rama on March 30. The event supported the Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis, which Stayzer participated in with her team, Breathe & Believe.

There is no cure for CF, which is currently the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. CF mainly causes lung and digestive problems. People can experience symptoms like shortness of breath, persistent coughing, frequent chest infections, bowel disturbances and weight loss, or failure to gain weight, regardless of increased appetite. Almost 4,000 children and adults in this country seek treatment at specialized CF clinics.

CF Canada began in 1960, and is considered one of the world’s top three charitable organizations committed to finding a cure for CF. They have invested almost $150 million “in leading research, innovation and care.” The charity’s work has led to Canadians with cystic fibrosis having one of the highest median survival rates in the world.

CF has imposed many hardships on Stayzer. As a 4-year-old, she could out-eat her 200-pound father, while her growth remained stunted for several years. Now, she takes “countless amounts of pills” and spends two hours daily on a ventilator. Persistent coughing also plagues her. “It’s really hard to get a good night’s sleep when lying flat makes you cough a lot,” Stayzer explains. “Sleeping while sitting up isn’t very comfortable, but it’s my only option on many occasions.”

The bowling event, along with a stag-and-doe-style fundraiser she also held, raised $8,857 for CF Canada, and she notes that “the entire night was wonderful. I got to create great memories, all while raising awareness for such an important cause. The highlight for me was the many children who were able to attend. A stag and doe event does not permit children to participate, and I wanted to have a family event.”

Stayzer says that when planning it helps to have a dedicated team around you. “I have an incredible group of women that help me along my journey. All five of my girls are like my sisters, and they could change the world. I am so grateful for their guidance and support, and my events would not be possible without them by my side.”

How do you put together a committed team of event organizers?