For the past five years, Tammy Brown, office manager at Milwaukee-based Stir LLC, has been volunteering each Tuesday to help out a family with four kids diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. The disease forces those cells to secrete fluids that are thick and sticky, rather than thin and slick, which blocks passageways in the body, particularly in the lungs and pancreas.
Though neither of the four kids’ parents have the disease, both are carriers of the genetic abnormality that causes it. Cystic fibrosis was passed on to four of their five children.
Brown and her family met them through their church and Brown’s daughter began babysitting for the family five years ago. Eventually her son began helping out, too, and soon she was doing anything she could to help the family – she frequently babysits and, when she does, makes sure all the kids are using their medications and medical devices properly.
“I look forward to it every week,” Brown said. “It’s fun to spend time with the kiddos.”
The Browns help in other ways, too, such as playing in a kickball tournament organized by the family and participating in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s annual walk to raise money for medical research, held on Milwaukee’s lakefront each May.
“It’s become a passion of mine and my family’s, to help them so we can see this thing get cured,” Brown said.