MARQUETTE - More than 50 people turned out in the biting wind Saturday morning to take part in a Cystic Fibrosis research fundraiser, organized by a high school senior with an intimate knowledge of the disease.
Marquette Senior High School student Erin Mahaney, 17, suffers from CF, an inherited, progressive genetic disease that affects the lungs and pancreas.
Mahaney organized a ski and snowshoe loppet, which took place at the Noquemanon Trail Network's Forestville trailhead.
A group of participants in a fundraising ski and snowshoe loppet take off Saturday at the Noquemanon Trail Network’s Forestville trailhead. The event was organized by Erin Mahaney, speaking prior to the trek. Mahaney is a 17-year-old Marquette Senior High School senior with cystic fibrosis. The proceeds from the benefit will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for research on the disease. Journal photo by jackie Stark)
Both events were noncompetitive, with snowshoers running a 2K course and the skiers running a 5K course.
Mahaney said she first got the idea to organize a fundraiser in the Upper Peninsula after attending the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's "Great Strides" event in Green Bay, Wis.
"You walk a 3K and you get pledges or money for people so you can walk. I did that last year in Green Bay and so many people said, 'I would go but it's so far away,' " Mahaney said. "So, I thought if I could make an event here, locally, then even if it wasn't walking, people would still show up and we could still raise money and people could have a fun time."
Tickets were $25 and included a full-day trail pass for the Noque, lunch catered by Border Grill and raffle tickets. Prizes included Columbia hats, Vera Bradley items, gift cards to Auto Armor of Marquette and Elizabeth's Chophouse, as well as classes tat Cycle Soleil.
"Everybody's been positive and happy, and so many people have been willing to give and show up and support me," Mahaney said of the event Saturday. "The community is definitely great here. I definitely want to thank everybody who's donated because I couldn't have done this without them."
Mahaney got the word out about the event in several local media organizations, including over the airwaves on Q107 WMQT. Station owner Tom Mogush and his wife Sandy also attended the fundraiser, taking part in the snowshoeing.
Tom Mogush said it was important to make more people aware of a disease that often goes unnoticed by people not directly affected by it.
"It's a disease not too many people know about, and Erin and this event today are bringing awareness to that," Mogush said.
Mahaney said she is hoping to make the event an annual fundraiser.
"I would definitely do it every year if I could," she said.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.