What do roses have to do with Cystic Fibrosis?



“65 Roses” is what little children suffering from Cystic Fibrosis call their disease. As the following story illustrates, the words are much easier for children to pronounce….

Mary G. Weiss became a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 1955 after learning that her three little boys had Cystic Fibrosis. Her duty was to call every civic club, social and service organization seeking financial support for CF research. Mary’s four 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 he had Cystic Fibrosis. With some trepidation, Mary posed the question back to Richard, “What am I working for, Richard?”

“You are working for ’65 Roses’,” he answered so sweetly. Mary was speechless. She went over to him and tenderly pressed his tiny body to hers. He could not see the tears running down Mary’s cheeks as she stammered, “Yes, Richard, I’m working for ’65 Roses’.”

This legend has been popularized by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (USA) in the names of fund-raising events (e.g., Sixty-Five Roses Dance). But making it easier to say doesn’t make Cystic Fibrosis any easier to live with…..

The ugly fact is Cystic Fibrosis is the number one genetic killer of children and young adults in America today. The “65 Roses” story has captured the hearts and imaginations of all who have heard it. The rose, appropriately the ancient symbol of love, has become a symbol of the fight against Cystic Fibrosis. .


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