Milwaukee's Finest

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by Jessica Tighe

The Wisconsin Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is celebrating "Milwaukee's Finest." He's a man who's committed to raising money for research that will hopefully lead to a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

"The first thing I loved about him was that he has a huge heart," Rebecca Poole says referring to her husband Raymond.

A huge heart, deep determination, and love for his wife is what prompted Ray to start raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. His wife Rebecca has CF. They've been together for 15 years and he sees the impact of the disease every day.

"I've watched her struggle with it at certain points and I've dealt with her going to the hospital and having to sleep with oxygen as the disease progresses so it's definitely a very close connection. You get to see it every day," Ray says.

Doctors diagnosed Rebecca with CF as a baby, and as a kid she says she was fine. She felt like her lungs were good. Over the years though, that's changed. She needs oxygen now even for a quick bike ride.

"Now I think the biggest thing is I get tired pretty quickly. That's probably the biggest thing because I'm kind of a go, go, go person," Rebecca says.

Cystic Fibrosis affects the lungs and digestive system. When Rebecca was born, the life expectancy for a child with CF was about 10 years old.

"I would hear my mom talking about it and I just thought they were all crazy-- like they're off their rockers-- that's just stupid. I'm going to live forever, live a long time," she recalls thinking.

Thanks to research and treatment, today's life expectancy is much longer but it's still only 38. Rebecca just turned 36. She's a fighter though and so is Ray. He recently raised more than $10,000 during "The Finest" event, a fundraiser for the Wisconsin Chapter of the CF Foundation. He raised the most and was named "the finest." It's money he hopes will help find a cure.

"I want to see Rebecca improve and do better and ultimately be able to find a cure and hopefully not require a lung transplant," Rays says.

"And grow old," Rebecca adds.

"Yeah that too," Ray says as they both laugh and smile.

Ray was among seven young professionals chosen to compete in this year's "finest" event. He raised his $10,000 through various activities over 60 days. The entire group raised about $30,000.

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