It started out with a bubble machine, a magic show, a silent auction, a small dinner and a motorcycle ride at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building. The Team Cravens event brought awareness to cystic fibrosis.

It later was moved to the National Guard Armory with jump houses, a magician and some food, and the name of the event was changed to Megan’s Wish.

It evolved into a dinner with food from Texas Roadhouse and a live auction, still benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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Saturday marks the 14th year of the event, and it’s still Megan Cravens’ wish to find a cure for the disorder that affects the pulmonary and digestive systems.

“It means so much to me whenever I see people really do care about CF,” said Cravens, 17, a student at Seymour High School.

“Everyone doesn’t know what CF is. It’s not out in the public, but it needs to be,” she said. “I don’t think people understand how much this affects people with it, and it’s so rare. I just think it’s an amazing opportunity to come out and learn about CF and support it. Every single dollar, we’re helping find a cure for CF.”

The dinner, consisting of a Texas Roadhouse barbecue chicken, hamburger or barbecue pork meal, starts at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the armory in Seymour. That’s followed by Bobby Honey leading the auction at 5:30 p.m.

The auction includes certificates and items donated by local businesses, amusement parks, hotels and restaurants, along with Disney World and sporting event tickets and autographed sports memorabilia.

Other activities at the event include kids’ games, cotton candy, door prizes, a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction and more.

Cravens said nearly $11,000 was raised during the event last year. Proceeds go to the Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis, set for June 6 at the Seymour High School track. That’s Cravens’ final fundraiser of the year.

She recently conducted a bake sale and raised $994. Other upcoming fundraisers are with Papa John’s Pizza on April 30 and an Applebee’s breakfast May 30.

Helping the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has always been important to Cravens since she was diagnosed with the disorder at birth. She was born with an extended stomach and had small blockages in her intestines.

Megan’s Wish began when she was 5. Two years later, she had a serious blockage in her stomach.

“It was horrible,” she said. “I was in the ICU (intensive care unit). It was bad, and I almost died. My doctor told my parents to say our goodbyes and I wouldn’t make it past a certain age.”

But her parents, Rachel and Jerry Cravens, refused to give up, and they put her under the care of Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Since then, she has gone through having a feeding tube and a port, and she has had about 10 surgeries. Some of those surgeries have been to remove polyps.

“It makes my lungs produce so much more mucus than the normal person would, so that mucus goes up into my nose, and then it causes me to get more polyps,” Cravens said.

Twice-a-day breathing treatments are a part of Cravens’ routine. Also, her pancreas is blocked, so she has to take enzymes every time she eats — five before a meal and three before a snack. She takes supplementary pills in the morning and at night.

Cravens said a lot of people with cystic fibrosis are underweight, have trouble gaining weight and can’t do physical activity because they aren’t strong enough. But those never have been problems for her.

“I always want to eat. I’m so hungry all the time,” she said. “My metabolism is very high, so I’m always eating, and I’m putting on that weight.”

About five years ago, she had her feeding tube removed. And last year, she had the port removed. That was initially placed under her skin to provide antibiotics.

“That was a major achievement for me because I’m not needing the home antibiotics anymore,” she said.

Cravens is a member of two cheerleading squads, which has helped her stay active and healthy.

She still has to go to Riley every three months to see her pulmonologist, and she goes to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis every six months to visit her ear, nose and throat doctor.

The life expectancy for cystic fibrosis patients is age 37, Cravens said, but she has read about people living past that mark.

She also said the Food and Drug Administration is testing a couple of drugs. One is being approved for the single-gene mutation, and the other is supposed to come out in midsummer for double-gene, which is the type of cystic fibrosis she has.

Cravens remains hopeful for a cure. She said she has been fortunate to have family and friends provide support and encouragement.

“They really just push me to do my treatments; and even though it’s tiring and I don’t want to do them all the time, they are always like, ‘Megan, you need to do these because it’s helping you,’” she said.

Rachel Cravens also said she appreciates everyone’s support.

“If it wasn’t for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, we would not have the medications that she has to get the great results she is getting with her health,” Rachel Cravens said. “And if we don’t have events with amazing, supportive people like we do to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, then they couldn’t provide the research.”

It’s a team effort, and every person counts to play their part, Rachel Cravens said.

“All these added tomorrows that Megan is getting, as well as others with CF, wouldn’t be possible without our supporters,” she said. “I can never say thank-you enough to our community and the family and friends that help us with these events. Words can never express the gratitude I have to be blessed with such support.”

If you go

Upcoming events to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Megan’s Wish dinner and auction

When: Saturday (Texas Roadhouse dinner at 4:30 p.m., auction at 5:30 p.m.)

Where: National Guard Armory, 1925 First Ave., Seymour

Cost: $10 for adult meal, $5 for child’s half-chicken meal and $3 for child’s hot dog meal

Tickets: Call Rachel or Jerry Cravens at 812-405-2844 or 812-569-4289

Percentage of Papa John’s orders

When: April 30

Where: Papa John’s Pizza, 600 E. Tipton St., Seymour

Order: 812-523-3949

Applebee’s breakfast

When: May 30 (8 to 10 a.m.)

Where: Applebee’s, 1705 E. Tipton St., Seymour

Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis

When: June 6 (1:30 p.m. registration, 2 p.m. walk)

Where: Seymour High School’s Bulleit Stadium along Community Drive

On the Web

For information about Megan’s Wish, to view auction items and to make donations, visit facebook.com/rcravens2.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.