SAINT PETER- In a formal banquet celebrating the close of the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference (NACFC) last Friday, Gustavus Adolphus College was awarded the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s highest honor: a Gold Medal for “outstanding efforts to facilitate the full acceptance and assimilation of students dealing with cystic fibrosis.” The award, whose previous honorees include geneticist Hans Eiberg and Senator Michael Bennett, comes with a $1.3 M research grant.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation CEO Robert J. Beall, PhD, lauded Gustavus for their commitment to “having one CF per residential hall floor.” Beall went on to discuss how Gustavus CFs represent students from all walks of campus life and take on an active role in community programming and policy enforcement.
“CF status at Gustavus is in a remarkable place,” said an enthusiastic Beall. “Here is a school which respects the needs of cystic fibrosis patients by offering them single rooms and waiving all housing costs. While the application process for these free rooms is rigorous, the fact that the institution awards this opportunity to over 60 students- now that is progress. Gustavus is saying to their students ‘we do not care if you suffer from salty skin, thick nasal mucus, and frequent pancreatitis- heck, we welcome it.’”
Jack R. Ohle accepted the award and check in front of an increasingly bewildered audience. Expressing gratitude for their “heartwarming recognition of our hard-working CF students,” the world’s largest advocacy group for the millions suffering from epithelial ion transport issues grew restless as Ohle’s speech delved into the application and selection process for the CF position. Cutting his speech short, Ohle left the stage with check-in-hand to a smattering of confused applause.
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