Pride of the Pine Belt: Laurel mom advocates for Cystic Fibrosis

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - "Frequent hospital stays, medications, we deal a lot with pneumonia," said Laurel mom, Donna Manning.

Friday morning, Manning talked about the impact of a fatal disease.

"Cystic Fibrosis has impacted my life by both of my children being born with Cystic Fibrosis," said Manning.

Manning's sons Trace and Maddison were diagnosed at an early age. Manning says sleeping at hospitals, and getting ready for work in a hospital room is not uncommon.

"In fact, Maddison got out of the hospital this year on Christmas eve, so we were there for two weeks," said Manning.

She says it may feel like a routine, but it's not easy. In 2008, Cystic Fibrosis took the life of her oldest son, Trace. He would have been 25-years-old. Manning says instead of falling apart she held on to a proverb.

"Well, when my Trace was really sick I saw a t-shirt one day, and on the back of it said, 'Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain,' " said Manning.

Manning's friend Jennifer Lindsey is inspired by her positive attitude.

"She has a huge heart. I wish there were more Donna's in this world," said Lindsey.

Lindsey says though Manning endured her husband's two deployments, the loss of Trace and her youngest son's diagnosis, her strong spirit never wavered. Neither will Manning's fight against the disease.

"We all come together. We get our friends, family, community, strangers, whoever to come out and join us in taking great strides against Cystic Fibrosis. We just do a walk," said Manning.

Every year the walk takes place at Mason Park in Laurel. Manning says the walk increases awareness about the disease, but the donations go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for research to find a cure.

"We have a team each year. Our team is hunting for a cure, because Trace was a big deer hunter, and we are hunting for that cure," said Manning.

The Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Walk will take place April 6 at Mason Park in Laurel. If you would like to participate or give a donation call Donna Manning at 601-498-1585, or Jennifer Lindsey at 601-470-8738.

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