By Leanne Thomas, Tripler Army Medical CenterMay 4, 2017
HONOLULU, Hawaii (May 3, 2017) - Tripler Army Medical Center, commonly known as TAMC, is the state of Hawaii's only accredited Cystic Fibrosis Center. According to TAMC staff members an important part of a patient's cystic fibrosis support team, here, are a group of professional surfers from the Mauli Ola Foundation.
Six surfers from the foundation made their bi-annual visit to Tripler on May 3, to connect with children with cystic fibrosis. They are able to bring the children patients and their families together to inspire and support one another at the hospital, and also they take them surfing during Mauli Ola's surf experience days.
"We make these hospital visits because we try to reach as many kids as we can and some of the kids cannot always attend the surf experience day events," said Kala Alexander, the Mauli Ola Vice President and professional surfer.
"The kids love when the surfers visit and spend time with them. They really get to know the surfers because they are a part of their support team," says Christine M. Gould, Director of the Tripler Cystic Fibrosis Center. "The surfers show the kids they are still normal and they can do anything they want to do."
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry, in the United States, more than 30,000 people are living with cystic fibrosis.
Salt water or hypertonic saline treatments have actually been found to improve airway clearance and lung function for some patients who suffer from this genetic disease.
Gould shared, "In Australia, doctors noticed surfers who suffered from cystic fibrosis had better lung function during surf season, now saline nebulizer treatments are a part of standard treatments."