A Local Family Fighting for a Cure – You Can Help
Full disclosure - I have a personal interest in this story. Kevin Collins, Jr was a close friend of mine who lost his fight against Cystic Fibrosis in 2008. His family has been tireless in fighting for a cure for over 25 years. Kevin and his younger sister Kelly were born with CF, This month their brother Kasey is being honored by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for his dedication and unwavering support. I spoke to him about what this all means to him. Read my interview below...
How did you get involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation?
My Brother was diagnosed with CF when he was two years old. He was three years older than me, so my family was already involved by the time I was born. Being involved with events for CF has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
How has your experience with CF in your life impacted your outlook?
It has generally made me appreciate everything a little bit more. Growing up with two siblings that have CF, you see what they deal with on a daily basis and what they go through during their whole life. When you see that and then see how they continue to be strong and enjoy life as much as possible, it really puts things in perspective. Any time I’ve thought things were tough, I remember that it’s nothing compared to what they fight everyday. It has made me a stronger person that appreciates every second of every day.
If you had to point to one quality each that stands out to you from your siblings, what would they be?
Narrowing it down to one is tough… For my brother, Kevin, I would say his overall personality. He always tried to make the best of things, was always smiling, and could definitely brighten a room. After he passed away I heard about a lot of instances where people knew him for a pretty long time and never even realized that he had CF, and that kind of summarizes how his personality was.
For my sister, Kelly, I would say dedication. She has set and accomplished so many amazing goals. She recently ran the Walt Disney World half marathon representing Team Boomer and also ran the Boomer Esiason "Run to Breathe" 10K. She also competed in Basketball at the collegiate level. These accomplishments take a lot of dedication to physical well being and pushing the limits of a CF patient. She is truly an inspiring person to be around.
What does it mean to you to be named one of "New Jersey's Finest" by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation?
I’m honored to have been nominated by two of my brother’s closest friends. Being involved with the CF Foundation has and always will be a part of my life. I never thought of being recognized for anything, but I am grateful to be a part of something that can help continue to raise awareness for CF.
If you raise the most money and win the grand prize of two airfare vouchers, what do you plan to do with the prize?
All of this is to better the lives and future of people with CF. My sister has always wanted to take a trip to Hawaii, so I would give them to her to help make that trip a reality.
Anything else that you want to add?
I would just like to thank everyone that has supported my family throughout the years; especially our local community, extended family, the local Law Enforcement community, and friends of my brother and sister. There are so many people in these groups that have continually showed up and contributed to CF fundraising events from the early years of “Kevin’s Team” to our current “Team Collins.” It is great to have such support.
If you'd like to donate to Kasey's campaign, just click here for the official page at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The next fundraiser for Team Collins will be this coming Monday, June 17th at Harpoon Willy's in Manasquan from 11am - 10pm. Just mention Team Collins and 20% of the proceeds for the day will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Kasey's fundraising goal.