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Great Strides 5K Held To Raise Money For Those Fighting Cystic Fibrosis

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- About 2,000 participants turned out Sunday morning for the annual Great Strides walk for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The 5K walk in lower Manhattan raised nearly $500,000.

"You will never be in a more generous and loving community as the cystic fibrosis community," Margarete Cassalina, the mother of two children with cystic fibrosis, told CBS2's Elise Finch. "Everybody's together. As soon as you meet somebody, you're like family. "

Cassalina's daughter died of the disease in 2006, but her son is 23 and doing well. She wrote a book, "Beyond Breathing," about her experiences.

CF is an inherited, life-threatening, chronic disease. About 30,000 people in the U.S. are living with CF, and 70,000 worldwide.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is funded solely by donations.

Dr. Claire Keating of Columbia University Medical Center said progress is being made with medication to treat the underlying problems of cystic fibrosis.

"Unfortunately (the drug) Kalydeco only applies to about a minority of patients, but it's been a remarkable step forward in treating CF. And this year in July we're expecting and hoping for approval of a medication that will be eligible for about 50 percent of patients with CF," she said.

For more information on the Great Strides walk and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, click here.

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