ALAMEDA -- Bethany Kharrazi, a 14-year-old honor learner at Alameda Community Learning Center, joined more than 70 other teens across the nation to press elected officials in Washington, D.C., to support cystic fibrosis drug research and development and to protect access to specialized care for her brother and other people with the disease.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited fatal disease that causes recurrent lung infections, lung damage and premature death.

On June 26, Kharrazi participated in Teen Advocacy Day on behalf of her brother, Jeremy, who has cystic fibrosis.

During the event, Bethany met with senators and representatives from California to share her personal experiences and advocate for people with cystic fibrosis.

Teens asked their members of Congress to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to recognize the importance of affordable access to care at CF Foundation-accredited care centers.

"I am thankful to have been a part of Teen Advocacy Day and to have had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., for the third time to speak for Jeremy and other people with this terrible disease," Bethany Kharrazi said. "It was exciting to meet my elected officials and help them understand what those with CF experience on a daily basis. I know firsthand why we need new medicines to treat cystic fibrosis and the importance of quality CF care, and I think it's important our representatives in Washington understand, too."


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Her brother was unable to attend Teen Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., because people with cystic fibrosis are advised to avoid being in close contact with one another because of the risk of getting or spreading dangerous germs that can lead to lung infections for those with cystic fibrosis.

Teen Advocacy Day is sponsored by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a nonprofit donor-support organization dedicated to fighting cystic fibrosis from every angle. The foundation focuses on supporting and developing new drugs to fight the disease, improving the quality of life for those with CF, and ultimately finding a cure.

In addition, Bethany Kharrazi was the recipient of the Teen Advocacy award from the Northern California Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Kate Berko (most inspirational oarswomen) Award from Oakland Strokes Rowing. The Berko award stated that Bethany "demonstrated exemplary values of sportsmanship, resilience, commitment and courage to inspire her teammates to become better oarswomen."

-- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation