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December 20, 2002 - Image 49

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-12-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Faces Of Courage

A Royal Oak mom makes a calendar to benefit research into a deadly disease.

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM

AppleTree Editor

B

rian is 33 and a surgeon and he likes
bikes — the Harley-Davidson kind of
bike.
Dottie, 24, is a fitness trainer who
enjoys running in triathlons.
Kristen is a 21-year-old college student and, like
Brian and Dottie, she has cystic fibrosis (CF).
Her sister died from the disease, and living with
CF presents a litany of challenges, from constant
medications to difficulty breathing to the knowl-
edge that CF often means a short life. But Kristen
isn't bitter.
"I don't think anything negative of this disease,"
she says. "It helps me deal with things that are
important in life."
Brian, D _ ottie and Kristen are all featured in
Portraits of Cystic Fibrosis, a new
calendar designed by Laura
Teicher Bonnell of

0

Laura Bonnell
with her daughters:
"Every day, lift is really great."

Royal Oak. Her goal: "I wanted to put a face to
the disease — to show the kids, the adults and, of
course, my girls."
Bonnell, formerly a reporter for WWJ News
Radio, is a full-time mom to Molly, 7, and Emily,
5, both of whom have CF and are featured
in the calendar.
"If you look at them, you would never
guess they had CF," Bonnell says.
"Molly is so smart and she loves to read;
you can't get a book away from her. Emily
likes to run and climb. She's full of energy.
"Both girls are funny and they have a
great attitude, and we live every day to the
fullest."
Yet Emily already has had three opera-
tions for sinus problems, and she has suf-
fered a lung infection. Molly has "serious
digestive problems," Bonnell says.
Unlike most children, her daughters
must take daily medication and receive
regular treatments to help with breathing.
In CF, a sticky mucus builds up in the
body and interferes with digestion and
breathing, often resulting in a fatal lung infection.
More than 30,000 individuals in the United
States have CF, for which there is no cure.
The average life-expectancy for some-
one with CF is 32 years.
For a child to be born
with CF, both parents
must be carriers of a
recessive gene.
When both par-
ents are carriers,
a baby still
only has a
25 per-
cent

chance of being born with the disease.
With no family history of CF, Laura and her
husband, Joe Bonnell, never imagined they would
need to be concerned.
But as soon as she learned that her children had

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CF, Laura Bonnell began devoting herself to rais-
ing awareness about the disease. With Portrait of
Cystic Fibrosis, she hopes to help raise funds for
further research toward a cure, as well.

Creating The Calendar

Bonnell had been thinking of making a calendar
like this for some time.
One day, she simply picked up the phone and
called the University of Michigan, an official CF
clinic and the hospital where her daughters receive
treatment. Bonnell asked whether the hospital
could provide the names of any CF families who
might be interested in being featured in a calen-
dar.
Her brother, Noah, meanwhile, had read a
magazine story about a woman living with the
disease. Bonnell tracked her down.
Sooner than she imagined, 12 people with CF
had agreed to be featured in the calendar. Bonnell
said she told them: "Thank you for trusting me."
Photographer Maureen Electa Monte, a friend .
of Bonnell's, volunteered to take pictures for the
calendar. Monte's first subject was a young. man

12/20

2002

49

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