Carrollton High senior raising funds to help cure cystic fibrosis for younger brother

Chael Sullivan, right, is raising money to find a cure for his brother Ramsey’s cystic fibrosis. Ramsey, left, was diagnosed with the disease at birth. The fundraiser has been ongoing for nearly two weeks.

A Carrollton High School senior is raising money to find a cure for his younger brother’s cystic fibrosis, with more than 75% of his goal raised in the first two weeks.

But Chael Sulivan’s original plan to host a fundraising event were scrapped earlier this year when the coronavirus pandemic began.

While the pandemic has prevented many things, including public events, one thing it hasn’t changed is Sullivan’s pursuit to help cure the disease for his younger brother, Ramsey.

Earlier this year, Chael planned a local fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Atlanta, the world’s leader in the fight to treat and cure the disease, but the event had to be canceled due to COVID-19.

However, the coronavirus did not stop him from raising funds through a letter campaign asking friends and family to support his goal of $10,000.

“My hope is that there will be a cure in Ramsey’s lifetime, so he can grow up and do all of the things he dreams about,” Chael wrote in the letter sent to donors. “I want more than anything for my brother and best friend to live a full and happy life.”

Ramsey was diagnosed at birth, and Chael said he did not realize at that time what the diagnosis meant for him and his family.

“He looked perfectly healthy to me, and I was so excited to finally have a little brother now,” Chael wrote on the fundraiser’s website. “I’m 18 now, and Ramsey is 15. Over the years, I’ve come to understand CF and see just how brave a fighter my brother is.”

Cystic fibrosis is a disease that causes a buildup of thick, sticky mucus in various organs, making it difficult to breathe, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Atlanta.

There are about 30,000 people with cystic fibrosis in the U.S. and approximately 70,000 others worldwide, according to the American Lung Association website. Approximately 1 in 30 Americans is a carrier of the disease.

Chael’s brother spends hours doing breathing treatments and takes more than 20 pills a day, Chael added. This means getting up early, working hard to stay healthy, and missing out on some activities.

But through every treatment, Chael wrote that Ramsey “manages to stay positive” while maintaining his happy and engaging personality.

Thanks to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, there has been progress in the treatment and care for Chael’s brother, and anyone else living with CF.

In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new modulator drug known as Trikafta. This drug treats the underlying cause of CF and is a miracle for many, Chael said.

“His lung function has increased 10% since beginning Trikafta in March,” Chael said. “My family is thrilled for this progress, but we will not stop until a cure is found. Usually it’s the little brother who looks up to the older brother, but for me, it’s the other way around. He is my hero.”

Chael told the Times-Georgian that he and his family have raised $7,665, and the fundraiser has been ongoing since last week. He added he is more concerned about raising awareness of cystic fibrosis and how it impacts others than about the money.

Those who want to donate to his cause can visit fightcf.cff.org/goto/chaelsullivan, or mail a check made out to “CFF” to the Georgia Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 57 Executive Park St., Suite 380, in Atlanta.