By Chris & Mary Guiney, the founders of ShamRockin’ For a Cure
This is how it all got started…
Back in the day, I knew Jon Baker at flag football games as “the guy with the Porsche.” And Pam Baker? Well, Pam was ‘remember that girl and her sister at Rock Bottom on New Years? You know, “the guy with the Porsche’s wife?”‘ Back in the day, when our biggest worries were where in Buckhead to meet and how to survive the morning after. We had our futures before us and the unknown was still unknown.
It was unthinkable at the time that Jon and Pam would be battling Cystic Fibrosis with not one, but two of their children. It is still unthinkable; but it is, in fact, their reality. The first time my husband Chris and I saw CF was when we walked into the Baker’s lake house and saw then 3-year- old Jake Baker hooked up to some funky-looking vibrating vest, breathing through a mask hooked up to some other funky-looking tube machine. We looked at each other thinking, “what is that all about?”
Chris and I are not parents battling CF. We are so lucky to be the parents of three healthy boys, Jack, Liam & George. We think we have issues – but we have no idea! It has been so hard to watch our friends struggle daily with this deadly disease. They do it quietly, with such grace that you might forget that they are in a constant daily battle for the lives of Gavin and Jake.
Our kids swim and ski and wakeboard with Gavin and Jake all summer. They have bonfires with them, s’mores, and sleepovers. The only difference is that Pam leaves a list of instructions, treatments and medications with me that I don’t have to leave with her. When she drops them off at my house, a trail of medical equipment follows them in. I’ve never said to her, “don’t worry, if you forget something they won’t die,” like she has said to me. Everyday I wonder, “Will George or Liam fall out of a tree today?” Everyday, they wonder, “Is this a cough that sends us to the hospital?” “Is this just some virus, or is this the turning point we’ve been dreading?”
Cystic Fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease that effects Gavin and Jake’s lungs. It will cut their lives short unless a cure is found. They have daily treatments and medications that only treat their symptoms, and will not save their lives.
It is a tribute to Jon and Pam that CF does not define Gavin or Jake. Gavin needs to go to the XGames because he is that talented on the wakeboard. Jake needs to be on Broadway and in the NFL, although his greatest wish is to be a daddy one day. They need hope for their future, that their future will be longer than 20 years. They need a cure!
Chris and I feel that we have to do everything in our power to help find a cure. We can’t sit idly by and wish for a cure. So one day, Chris said, “how can we help and what are we good at? We’re good at getting people together and having a good time! Let’s throw the rockin’est fundraising party ever! We’ll have a live band, great food, free booze…” Shamrockin’ was born!Come party with us! We’ll Eat, Drink and Cure CF!!