The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 22, 2013

Senior project helps brother with CF

SUNBURY — Shamokin junior Kayla Gordon didn’t waste any time in figuring out what she wanted to do for her senior project.

“My brother, Ryan, has cystic fibrosis (CF),” she said, “and I wanted to do something that will help him and create more awareness about the disease.”  Gordon is planning and coordinating a Chinese Auction to benefit Pennsylvania Cystic Fibrosis, Inc. (PACFI).  The event will be held at the Sunbury VFW on Saturday, April 27, from noon until 4 p.m.

“We already have more than 400 items donated from area businesses,” Gordon added, “and the list of items is on our Facebook page under ‘PACFI Annual Chinese Auction.’  People can check it out and plan what items they’ll try to win.”

Ryan was adopted by the Gordon family when he was 18 months old.  His biological parents were unable to care for him.  He was malnourished and didn’t receive the necessary medical care that is common for people with CF.  The disease is caused by a defective gene that causes the body to secrete thick mucus that impairs digestion and clogs the airways leading to chronic and eventually fatal lung infections.  CF affects about 30,000 people in the U.S. and more than 70,000 worldwide.  Progressive research has extended the average life span to 37 years, but there is still no cure.  CF takes a life every 24 hours.

“Ryan’s beaming smile infected all of us,” Gordon said.  “My Mom and Dad weren’t totally sure about the adoption, but my sister, Tiffany, and I pleaded with them and we agreed to help.”

Fast-forward about four years, and 6-year-old Ryan, nicknamed “Peanut” by the family, is doing well.  He will finish kindergarten in May and Dad has already coached Ryan as a member of the Sunbury Yankees tee-ball team.  Mom takes care of his medical needs, and Kayla and her sister help as Peanut’s sitters and playmates.

“He drives us all crazy at times,” Gordon laughs.

The auction gives Gordon an opportunity to help her brother because PACFI is an independent, nonprofit, all volunteer 501(c)(3) organization that provides services and supports for Pennsylvania individuals and families affected by CF and raises funds to support some of the nation’s most progressive CF research.  More information is available at