Like most 3-year-olds, Adalyn Williams loves to sing, dance, play with her little brother, draw, swim and play outside. It’s not surprising that she’s also a big fan of anything related to the Disney princess franchise, and she absolutely loves bubbles — lots and lots of bubbles.
What sets Adalyn apart from most 3-year-olds, however, is that she has cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disorder with life-threatening effects on the lungs and digestive system.
Adalyn was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis before she was even born. Her parents, Kayla and Ted Williams of Woodstock, discovered through a routine blood test prior to Adalyn’s birth that they were both carriers of the genetic mutations that cause cystic fibrosis, making it a 25 percent likelihood that their unborn baby girl would inherit the disease. Further tests via amniotic fluid confirmed their worst fears.
“When we found out that she had cystic fibrosis, we were devastated,” said Adalyn’s mother, Kayla. “Our hearts ached knowing the potential difficulties that lay ahead with this disease. It’s not easy hearing that your child’s life expectancy is close to your own age.”
This year, Adalyn has been chosen to serve as Choate Construction’s 2015 CF Ambassador as the company works to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
According to the non-profit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, about 30,000 children and adults in the United States have cystic fibrosis, and almost 70,000 people have the disease worldwide.
Despite these numbers, significant strides in treatment of the disease have been made in the past 30 years through the efforts of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Hope for the future
Scot Rittenbaum is the executive director of the Georgia Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is the father of a daughter with cystic fibrosis.
“We have deeply altered the landscape of this disease, and people with CF are living into their 30s, 40s and beyond,” Rittenbaum said.
Adalyn’s father, Ted, agrees advances have been made.
“The advances we’ve made in CF treatments have grown by leaps and bounds in such a short amount of time. Our hope is that a cure will be developed in the near future so Adalyn doesn’t have to worry about CF and can focus on just being a kid,” he said.
The Williams say that they’re not alone in their fight against cystic fibrosis. Adalyn is examined quarterly by staff at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta who are dedicated to the treatment of cystic fibrosis, including doctors specializing in the areas of pulmonology and nutrition, as well as a gastroenterologist and a pharmacist.
Adalyn spends an hour out of each day wearing a vibrating vest designed to break up mucus in her lungs. The Williams family also receives support from a mentor family that has a child who has cystic fibrosis. Connecting with another family living with cystic fibrosis provides the Williams family with a much-needed support system.
Also joining the Williams family in the fight to find a cure are their friends at Choate Construction. CEO and founder of Choate Construction, Millard Choate, made finding a cure for cystic fibrosis a personal cause more than 25 years ago when his daughter Emily’s best friend, Leann Rittenbaum, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Rittenbaum is the daughter of Scot Rittenbaum.
Since then, Choate Construction has raised more than $2 million toward finding a cure for cystic fibrosis. As Choate’s 2015 CF Ambassador, Adalyn often refers to the employees who work tirelessly to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as her “Choate Family.”
The construction company, with offices throughout Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, will host the sixth annual Cars & ‘Q for the Cause fundraiser on May 30 at their office at 8200 Roberts Drive in Atlanta. The event will include a car show that showcases various types of collectible cars and bikes, as well as barbecue, cocktails, live music and a raffle.
This annual fundraising event is expected to raise more than $20,000 in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.