By DEANNA ATKINSON MCGILL | Photography by RETT PEEK
Lewis “Lew” Dillahunty is the definitive family man. He packs lunches and helps with homework, dishes and laundry. “I volunteer every morning at Don Roberts Elementary carpool line which is always an interesting start to my day.” To add to this status, he credits his mom, “Saint Pat” as the most fascinating person in his life and his marriage as his greatest accomplishment. He considers his family his inspiration. With his good nature and abundant sense of humor, it’s no surprise he’s game to help with anything that improves the lives of those he loves.
All joking aside, Lew’s family provides another kind of motivation for his work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “My father’s cousin, Claudia Fulton, passed away due to complications from cystic fibrosis in 2001. Shortly after that my cousins, John Miller and Jordan Miller Pennino, were diagnosed.” They are the WHY for Lew’s most beloved volunteer efforts with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “It is close to our hearts because CF has been devastating to our family.” Lew’s cousin Claudia Fulton worked tirelessly advocating for others living with CF while battling it herself. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Development Director Bethany Howell says, “It is so special that Lew received the Claudia Fulton Volunteer of the Year Award last year. He continues to give his time, energy and passion to raise funding to support patients impacted by this disease.” Lew honors his family’s legacy through unwavering civic leadership and he will be recognized with the Breath of Life Award at the gala next month.
Corvette Image by Jason Hejny
Lew explains, “Breath of Life Gala is so important because it allows funding to be allocated for drug trials to help get new medications expedited to patients in need.” The greatest contribution is advocacy for CF patients with individualized treatment and patient assistance programs. Bethany adds, “It is truly incredible to be a part of an organization that has tangible results. You can see the benefits that the patients receive from the advancements in the treatments and medications. A definite change is seen in their demeanor as well as their health.”
When the foundation was established in 1955, patients did not live long enough to attend kindergarten. As a result of new treatments and therapies developed by the CFF, patients are living in adulthood – achieving milestones such as graduating college, getting married, starting a family and watching it grow. Improvements continue, but there is still a cure to be discovered and that is at the heart of the foundation’s mission fulfillment work.
Guests can join Lew and his family in support of finding a cure for CF at this year’s Breath of Life Gala. A highlight will be the completely restored 1980 Corvette included in the auction along with a Barry Thomas original painting, a Kramer Portrait and a trip to Napa Valley. Dinner, live music by pianist Gio Antipolo and custom-crafted drinks by Roxor Artisan Gin will make for an unforgettable evening that helps CF patient reach their full potential. Lew adds, “We want to change CF’s meaning to Cure Found!”