HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 3, 2010) – Stars from the surf and music worlds came together in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 31, 2010, for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s “Pipeline to a Cure” event, and in the process raised more than $450,000 net to battle the disease that robs children and young adults of their youth, their breath and ultimately their lives. To date, the three Pipeline events have raised more than $1,300,000.
The emotional yet inspirational event was held at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, and attracted more than 650 guests, as well as surfing greats such as Dave Kalama, Rob Machado, Lisa Anderson, and P.T. Townsend, and music icons including Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong and Tom Curren. Dave Kalama also served as honorary co-chair with legendary waterman Laird Hamilton, while famed Los Angeles Angels’ Tim Salmon was celebrated as the night’s honoree for his ardent support of the event since its inception.
The Pipeline event also honored Emily Haager, who was the event’s CF Ambassador until her untimely death in May 2010. Haager, an avid surfer herself, was relentless in her hope that a cure would be found in her lifetime, and spent most of her young life raising awareness about the disease and helping other CF patients endure the grueling daily treatment regimens that keep them alive.
Haager also was living proof that surfing helped CF patients breathe easier. Doctors determined that inhaling saltwater mist had a powerful effect on rehydrating the lining of the lungs and allowed CF patients to more easily eliminate bacteria-contaminated mucus. This discovery led researchers to develop a hypertonic saline solution, which CF patients around the world now inhale, mimicking a “surf session,” on a daily basis. The Pipeline events were created to herald this discovery.
Haager knew a cure would not be far behind, a fact that Stacy Motenko, her friend and fellow CF patient spoke so eloquently about during the event. “We talked about meeting on the beach in Fiji the moment a cure was found, and if she is listening, I want to tell Emily that I will be there and she will be in my heart,” said Motenko.
The evening began with a special VIP reception, where Chris Cote, editor of Transworld’s SURF Magazine served as master of ceremonies and led a candid “Question & Answer” session with some of the surfing icons attending the event.
The 100 VIP guests then joined the additional 550 attendees in the silent auction area, where a kaleidoscope of donations dotted the tables that lined the entire room. Guests furiously bid on surfing items from Kelly Slater and Andy Irons-signed surf boards to products from O’Neill, Quiksilver, Volcom and other companies. Guests also could bid on luxury vacations, original art and Tiffany & Co. jewelry.
After the silent auction, the doors opened to the main ballroom, where “Emily’s Army” was playing. The teenage band, which counts Billy Joe Armstrong’s son among its crew, was a crowd favorite. The band’s name honors a young friend who has CF. Then it was time for 20-year CF supporter and country music DJ Shawn Parr of Go Country 105FM (KKGO-FM) to take the stage, who led a spirited live auction, which featured a cadre of 14 items that brought in more than $100,000. Items ranged from $2,500 to $25,000, with Rob Machado and Olympian Jason Lesak taking their turn on stage to encourage the audience to bid.
The evening also included a heart-wrenching speech by Diane Haager, mother of Emily Haager, who thanked the guests for their love and support. She was followed by Tom Curren, three-time world surf champion and talented musician who performed a suite of soulful yet uplifting tunes.
“The third annual Pipeline to a Cure was a great night for the CF Foundation, for the people attending the event, for Emily’s family and friends, and for all those affected by cystic fibrosis,” said Paul Motenko, president, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Southern California chapter. “There was a feeling of warmth and compassion in that room unlike any event that I have ever attended. The event was about Emily, the cause, and all the other children and young adults who know that a cure is on the horizon. We are eternally grateful for everyone’s support.”
The event’s title sponsors were Wahoo’s Fish Tacos and A-Med Pharmacy. Supporting sponsors included BJ's Restaurants, LAcarGUY, Coast Benefit Consultants, Wahoo's Fish Taco, American Airlines, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, The Waltos Group of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, Quiksilver, Billabong, Pepsi Co, Alexander Imports, Raj Mfg, Lexus, Merrill Lynch, American Security Bank, Hawaiian Springs, Heineken, Skilled Nursing Pharmacy, Volcom, Newport Surf Camp and the Huntington Beach Surf School. Event co-chairs included Judy Burlingham, Paul Motenko, Todd Elder and Jerry Hennessey.
About Cystic Fibrosis and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections, and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis. The Foundation funds more CF research than any other organization and nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of Foundation support. Based in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation also supports and accredits a national care center network that has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a model of care for a chronic disease.