A Walk For A Cure

Southcoast Dietitian Barbara Tyson to Take Part in the May 15 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Great Strides Walk in Memory of Her Daughter

Next Sunday, May 15, Southcoast Health Dietitian Barbara Tyson, along with family and friends, will be participating in the Great Strides Walk to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“This is our first in-person walk since 2020,” says Barbara, whose daughter, Danielle, passed away in 2006 from complications related to cystic fibrosis. “The walk is really a family affair for us. We’re joined by Danielle’s aunts, uncles, and cousins. Danielle’s best friend is the team captain. Another friend she played soccer with is the walk’s chairperson.”

With over 300 walks across the country, Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest national fundraising event. The event supports the Foundation’s mission to cure cystic fibrosis and raise awareness about this rare, genetic, life-shortening disease that affects the ability to breathe.

“When Danielle was born in the early 1980s with cystic fibrosis, medical researchers were just getting familiar with the genetics of the disease,” says Barbara. “It was only in the early 1990s that they found the gene that causes cystic fibrosis and began to develop treatment.” Unfortunately, a cure was not available to Danielle during her lifetime.

Danielle was a very happy, healthy little girl growing up, says her mom. She began having some lung problems at about age 10, and although the disease progressed, she was able to attend middle school and high school and was a popular young woman. By the time she graduated from high school, however, she required a lung transplant.

“People who knew her couldn’t believe that she had this illness because she was always so happy-go-lucky,” says Barbara.

At age 21, she underwent a successful lung transplant. “It was a miracle really. She went from being ventilated to fully breathing on her own. We were so grateful for the organ donation that allowed my daughter to breathe well again,” she says. Sadly, about a year after her transplant, Danielle developed a severe lung infection and passed away.

Barbara has worked at Southcoast for 40 years.

“The Southcoast family was very much involved in my journey with Danielle, especially when she needed a transplant. I can’t say enough about how much support I got from my Southcoast family, during and after Danielle’s time. Everyone took such good care of me,” she says. “Even though Danielle has been gone many years, we still participate in the foundations and fundraisers in hopes that someday others will not have to go through what we went through.”

The local South Coast Great Strides 5-mile walk begins at Fort Taber/Fort Rodman, 1000 Rodney French Blvd., in New Bedford. Check-in begins at 10am. The walk begins at 11am. There will be free parking, DJ entertainment, and refreshments. More information about the walk can be found on the Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website.

(l-r) Former Food Service Director Dave Gibbs, Danielle, and Barbara.

“Dave was very fond of Danielle and use to email her when she was in the hospital,” Barbara says. “Danielle was very much a part of the St Luke’s family. She would often come in just to say ‘Hi.’”