Surf foundation helps kids with Cystic Fibrosis

By Nikki Vandenabeele

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Ever since breakthrough studies discovered salt water helps patients with Cystic Fibrosis, surfers have developed a special treatment program.

In 2008, the Mauli Ola foundation was formed to bring kids with Cystic Fibrosis into the ocean and to raise awareness about the deadly disease.

With Charleston next to the ocean, it is a perfect place for patients to get their treatment outside of the hospital.

"Salt water, when we inhale it, helps bring mucus out of the lungs," said Dr. Charlie Strange from MUSC. "That clearance of all the air-way secretions is a very important thing to keep all of our lungs clear."

Hypertonic saline, which forms just above the ocean water, increases lung function and has proven to be a therapeutic aid for those with Cystic Fibrosis.

"When I can skip a treatment and go out and surf instead for two hours, it's incredible. The ocean has definitely changed my life in a huge way," said Caleb Remington, a surfer and Cystic Fibrosis patient.

Not only is the foundation changing the lives of those with the disease but also those who are helping.

"I actually get to use my skill and I love to be around kids," said Kalani Robb, a pro-surfer from Hawaii. "It makes me feel really good."

The Mauli Ola foundation started off on the Pacific coast. Sunday was its first day in Charleston and it was also Sarah Durham's first day on the board.

"They're teaching me how to pick out the wave, do the basics to get on the board and just ride it," said Sarah Durham, a Charleston teen with Cystic Fibrosis.

Charleston is just one of more than 20 stops for the foundation this year. The foundation is taking its bus to beaches across the nation to help kids get a breath of life.

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