Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States, 70,000 worldwide.
In the 1950's, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with cystic fibrosis. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s, and beyond.
Mary G. Weiss became a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 1965 after learning that her three little boys had the disease. Her duty was to call every civic club, social and service organization seeking financial support for Cystic Fibrosis research. Mary's 4-year-old son, Richard, listened closely to his mother as she made each call.
After several calls, Richard came into the room and told his mom, "I know what you are working for." Mary was dumbstruck because Richard did not know what she was doing, nor did he know that he had the disease. With some trepidation, Mary asked, "What am I working for, Richard?" He answered, "You are working for 65 roses." Mary was speechless "65 Roses" is what some children with cystic fibrosis call their disease because the words are much easier for them to pronounce.