Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry has been affected personally by CF; he lost his high-school sweetheart Mya Zimmer in July of 2015 after her long battle with the rare disease.
Since then, he has become a champion in the fight to find a cure for the inherited disorder, including hosting the first-annual Jarvis Landry Sports Challenge at Rhodes High School in Cleveland Friday to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
What is Cystic Fibrosis?
CF is a genetic condition that causes progressive respiratory and digestive system damage. Someone with CF has thick, sticky mucus, versus “healthy” slippery mucus, which builds up in their system. That build-up can clog airways, trapping bacteria, leading to breathing problems, frequent infections, lung damage and respiratory failure.
Additionally, the thick mucus prevents the release of digestive enzymes, making it difficult for patients to absorb necessary nutrients.
Jarvis Landry Sports Challenge
The Jarvis Landry Sports Challenge is an event to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Cleveland-area student athletes (ages 8-14) represent Cleveland Companies who sponsored their participation to compete in a series of sports challenges.
“It means everything,” said Jarvis. “Just having a true personal connection, and then, obviously, having some history and to have the opportunity to be here in Cleveland and be a part of this event was something that once I met everyone, it was like ‘I have to be here. I have to be here, you know?’
Jarvis autographed canvas prints and photos for an auction and spent time interacting with the 200 participants who came together to raise funds for CF research.
While Jarvis is “100 percent confident” that a cure for CF will be found soon, he has pledged his support to continue doing what he can to raise awareness for the rare disease.
“I feel like these are much-needed steps, much-needed events and things like this to raise awareness, and I know for me personally, to be able to have the platform that I have and be able to use that to reach more people, make more people aware is more of the reason I’m here today,” he said.