Alan and Laurie Jorgensen's daughter, Kellie, is a junior at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo.
The 2007 Moffat County High School graduate studies biology and is planning her wedding for this summer.
But, the Jorgensen’s daughter had to be a lot stronger than other girls her age to be able to live on her own, they said.
Every day, Alan said she spends hours undergoing percussive therapy, which helps loosen the fluid that builds up in her lungs.
Several times a day she inhales steroids and antibiotics to try and fight off her disease, called cystic fibrosis.
“It was really challenging at first because there were a lot of unknowns,” Alan said. “But, eventually we became more educated and knew what to expect with the medications. She had to take a lot of time out of her day to stay healthy.”
On Tuesday night, Alan and Laurie sat on a bench in their daughter’s former high school cafeteria during a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation hosted by the MCHS student council.
The event raised more than $500 for the national foundation for research on the disease.
Kellie heard about the dinner, but had to return to Laramie for the start of the semester and couldn't attend, her parents said.
“She saw it in the paper and was so excited,” Laurie said. “She was really disappointed she couldn't come.”
Still, the Jorgensen's attended the dinner, along with about 25 other community members, to support the student council and their chosen cause.
The dinner featured a taco bar and desserts for $5. Student council members served food and sold tickets and colorful chain links for $1 each to add to a garland of chains that decorated the lobby.
Before the dinner, the student council had sold 100 chain links to their fellow students during lunches.
After the guests had eaten, pairs of student council members stood high atop the ledge that surrounded the cafeteria and auctioned themselves off to the crowd for three hours of snow shoveling labor.
Each pair sold for between $50 and $60.
Student council president Slade Gurr said the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation contacted their organization and asked if they could support the cause.
“We decided to do it because there are quite a few people in this community who have (cystic fibrosis),” Gurr said. “There is a kid our age who has it, and a lot of people in this school know him. We just wanted to support what he and other people are going through.”
He admitted he didn't know much about the disease when the student council decided to do the fundraiser, but after a bit of research, he learned the kind of treatments that sufferers go through.
“The people that have this and their families, they know about it,” he said. “But, not a lot of people know about it, especially high schoolers.”
The Jorgensens said they were happy the student council chose the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which Alan said spent most of its money on research to help find stronger and better medications to improve his daughter's quality of life.
Laurie said she was glad to see the student council support the cause, but was also impressed with the way they gave back to the community.
“We really came out of support for the school, for these kids that are doing it,” Laurie said. “Even for any cause, it's so wonderful.”
Student council secretary Velvet Warne said the community service aspect of the organization was important to the high school.
“Someday we'll be a bigger part of the community,” Warne said. “This is a way to give back, to step out and say, 'We're here, we're not completely bad when we're teenagers.' To say, 'We support those people out there who have this.'”
Nicole Inglis can be reached at 875-1793, or firstname.lastname@example.org.