February 9, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 6


In Memoriam

Of Note


UTHSC employee motivates others
to fight cystic fibrosis

Sam Reyes, facilities management, has two strong legs, a strong will and a big heart. For 14 years in a row, Reyes has raised funds for and participated in the annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Cystic Fibrosis Tower Climb ­ a feat that takes months of recruiting volunteers and fund raising, and miles of walking.

Sam Reyes climbs stairs Sam Reyes, facilities management (right), climbs 76 flights of stairs to the top of the Tower of the Americas during the 1993 Cystic Fibrosis Tower Climb.

"I enjoy being part of something that will help people, especially children, live a better life," said Reyes.

Reyes begins preparing for the November event several months in advance. On his own time, he recruits faculty, staff and students to form Health Science Center teams. The teams raise funds, and on the day of the event, they climb 950 steps to the top of the Tower of the Americas, all to help fight cystic fibrosis.

At the event this past November, the U. T. Dental Team, led by third-year dental student Cindy Medina, raised more than $2,000, the most money collected at the event. The group took home the first-place prize. The U. T. Medical Team, led by first-year medical student Christian Stallworth, raised more than $1,400 to place second. James K. Richards, first-year medical student, raised $578 by himself and received an award for the most money raised by a single participant.

Raul Jimenez, facilities management, and his 7-year-old son participated in the event for the first time this past November.

"It was a nice experience that made me feel tired but good about knowing that I was helping people, especially children," said Jimenez. "My son got interested in knowing more about cystic fibrosis, so he started to read about it to find out how it affects kids his age. It was a good learning experience for him."

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. About 30,000 children and adults in the United States have the disease. The national Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was established in 1955 to assure the development of a cure and the means to control cystic fibrosis and to improve the quality of life for those with the disease.

For more information about cystic fibrosis, call the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at 829-7267 or log on to the foundation's Web site at www.cff.org.

Reyes said it's never too early to begin preparing for the November 2001 climb. To join or sponsor one of his Tower Climb teams, call him at ext. 7-2935.