Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a rare but devastating disease that affects the lives of approximately 30,000 Americans. This means approximately one in thirty Americans can be an unwitting carrier for this genetic disorder. Up until recently, it was rare for a child diagnosed with CF to even make it to adulthood.
Cystic Fibrosis is a lung disease that causes thick and sticky mucus to secrete in the lungs and digestive tract. Those who suffer from it often have frequent episodes with pneumonia, nasal congestion, coughing, fatigue and various respiratory ailments. Fortunately, researchers have made significant strides with understanding this life altering illness, as well as creating normalcy for many people diagnosed with CF. Organizations like Rochester’s Finest, partnering with the Western New York chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis foundation, look to honor the young professionals in our community who strive to educate and raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis. Without these generous philanthropic efforts and contributions, Cystic Fibrosis would be a much more devastating diagnosis than it is today.
One such Rochester’s Finest nominee, Michael Sellars, is determined to enhance the dialogue surrounding CF in our community. As someone who knows what it’s like to live with Cystic Fibrosis, Sellars brings his life experience and knowledge to combatting CF so that future generations may enjoy a better quality of life.
"I am 32. When I was born, I was not expected to live past 8 years old."
Sellars, now a husband, father, and a prominent financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial, has been actively involved with the WNY chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since 2011. The following year, the partnership between Rochester’s Finest and the WNY Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis foundation began.
Rochester’s Finest is a leadership program that looks to mentor young professionals who are making a difference in their community. These young professionals excel in their chosen business field while showing integrity and leadership qualities. In recent years, Sellars has been a mentor among Rochester’s Finest, but this year, he was nominated as an honoree. Every honoree is expected to raise contributions in their business and community to go towards the CF foundation. And at the end of every year, in September, one special honoree will be awarded by the leadership committee.
While Sellars does have Cystic Fibrosis, you do not have to have CF to be a mentor or an honoree. In addition, there are many advantages of joining a leadership program like Rochester’s Finest. Once nominated, honorees become ambassadors for CF in the WNY community and beyond. “There are so many networking opportunities, especially in Rochester. I was actually nominated by a Key Bank employee (Key Bank is heavily involved in Rochester’s Finest). The Key Bank employee who nominated me never knew that I have Cystic Fibrosis.”
Rochester’s Finest and CFF’s spotlight on Cystic Fibrosis has been crucial for those suffering from CF and their families. New drugs and breakthrough therapies have been a lifeline of hope, expanding the expected lifetime of those who struggle with CF. Medications like Trikafta have been ground-breaking in the CF community and would not be possible without the continued support of investors and valuable contributions.
As Sellars notes, “One pharmaceuticals company has formulated a drug which [for some] has been life-saving…Within one month, I was off the lung transplant list. I can now exercise and play with my kids.”
One major way that Sellars hopes to generate support for his favorite cause is the “Swinging Fore a Cure” golf tournament set to take place on Monday, July 25th. The tournament will be held at Mill Creek Golf Club in Churchville. Already Sellars has garnered support from notable benefactors such as Derek Jeter’s “Turn 2” Foundation. To date, he has raised $22,000 that will go towards advancing CF research and obtaining a cure. This unique tournament will also be awarding game prizes at designated holes. Lucky golfers will have the chance to win $10,000 or a 128GB Apple iPad. Worthy prizes for a worthy cause. Those wishing to participate may register at www.roccfa.org. For more information, email Michael Sellars at firstname.lastname@example.org.