May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

"Raise Your Voice" for CF Newborn Screening in Canada

PSA Campaign Launched Today Features Celebrity Patron, Céline Dion

TORONTO, May 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Cystic Fibrosis Canada launched a Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign today on the first day of May, Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, in Newfoundland & Labrador and Quebec urging families to call on their provincial legislators to commit to newborn screening for cystic fibrosis.

Early diagnosis of cystic fibrosis through newborn screening provides identified children with a better start in life. Without CF newborn screening, irreversible lung damage, impediments to physical growth, and digestive problems may have already occurred when the child is finally diagnosed. To slow progression of the disease, early intervention is critical.

"Canada is now the only country in the western world where newborn screening for cystic fibrosis is not a universal standard of care," said Maureen Adamson, President and CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. "We urge families to call on provincial legislators in Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador to implement CF newborn screening and give babies born with this devastating disease a chance to live longer, healthier lives."

The PSA campaign in Newfoundland & Labrador features Cystic Fibrosis Canada's Celebrity Patron, Céline Dion, who urges families to call on provincial legislators to implement newborn screening for cystic fibrosis. In Quebec, a print PSA campaign featuring a link to a petition will start this week.

Cystic Fibrosis Canada urges families in these provinces to send a letter or email to their legislators, and to sign online petitions to show their support. To sign the petitions in Newfoundland & Labrador and Quebec, visit www.cysticfibrosis.ca.

Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis is now the standard of care in all 50 States in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and much of the European Union. Currently, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario screen newborns for cystic fibrosis. The Nova Scotia government recently announced plans to adopt CF newborn screening, yet Newfoundland & Labrador, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island still do not screen for this disease.

Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. It is a multi-system disease that affects mainly the lungs and the digestive system. In the lungs, where the effects are most devastating, a build-up of thick mucus causes severe respiratory problems. Mucus and protein also build up in the digestive tract, making it difficult to digest and absorb nutrients from food. As improved therapies have helped to address the malnutrition issues, ultimately most deaths related to cystic fibrosis are due to lung disease. There is no cure.

Cystic Fibrosis Canada
Cystic Fibrosis Canada is one of the world's top three charitable organizations committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and is an internationally-recognized leader in funding CF research, innovation, and clinical care. We invest more funding in life-saving CF research and care than any other non-governmental agency in Canada. Since 1960, Cystic Fibrosis Canada has invested almost $150 million in leading research, care and advocacy, resulting in one of the world's highest survival rates for Canadians living with cystic fibrosis. For more information, please visit www.cysticfibrosis.ca.

NOTE TO MEDIA: To download Céline Dion's message about the importance of CF newborn screening in broadcast-ready quality audio, video and digital PSAs in English, please visit: http://www.vvcnetwork.ca/cf/20120501/.

SOURCE: Cystic Fibrosis Canada

For further information:

National Media Contact: 
Melinda McInnes, Communications Director
Cystic Fibrosis Canada
Tel: 416-485-9149 ext. 240
Toll free: 1-800-378-2233 ext. 240
Email: MediaRelations@cysticfibrosis.ca


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