HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Chris and Beth Saladino cannot believe eight years have passed since they lost their daughter Lucy. As parents of a girl diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis they knew that in 1991 when Lucy was born, her life expectancy was about 18 years.
Lucy died in February 2009 at the age of 17.
"There is not a lot I don’t remember about her," Lucy’s father Chris said.
The Cystic Fibrosis caused Lucy lung problems and left her with lung infections.
"Persistent cough. Excessive sweating. Digestive problems," her mother Beth recalled. "Chris and I did not have an idea we had family history."
Beth and Chris, who live in Henrico, said despite Lucy’s ailments and hospital stays, their brave daughter wanted to live the life of a normal teen.
"When Lucy got sick at the end, Chris and I were like, ‘Oh, I wish we had taken her to Italy.’ But really she wanted to go to Short Pump Mall with her girlfriends and read ‘17’ magazine and that was great," Beth said.
Even with her deteriorating condition Lucy played soccer team with dad coaching on the sidelines.
"She was a champ," Chris said.
Now Lucy’s parents are carrying on their daughter’s fight against Cystic Fibrosis.
"I don’t want any other family to go through what we went through," Beth said.
Each spring Beth and Chris, a former chef, host hundreds of friends at a pasta dinner that raises serious money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
So far, the family has raised nearly $118,000.
"It is a buzz all night. It never quiets down," Beth said. "I’ve never felt better about raising money."
Chris and Beth also award a deserving Godwin High School student with a scholarship in Lucy’s name.
The Saladinos said Cystic Fibrosis will always be a part of their lives. Their efforts are helping find a cure and honor a daughter who will forever be 17.
"There is not a day that goes by that I don’t imagine how she was then and then sadly how she might be today," Chris said.
Beth wanted people who knew their daughter to remember Lucy and smile.
"She was a good kid. A good normal kid," Beth said. "Just a sweetie."
In addition to cooking hundreds of pounds of pasta, the Saladinos will also help raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation this spring by walking in the Great Strides fundraiser.
The two-mile-walk will kick off on May 21 at Innsbrook at 9 a.m.
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