CAPITAL DISTRICT CJ is a little boy with a big smile.
“CJ is the most smiley, outgoing baby,” said Tracy Van Hattum, his mother. “He’s always got a smile on his face. … He just brightens up a room.”
But the big grin that Van Hattum said can turn around “even the darkest of days” hides something most people can’t see and what the 2-year-old is still too young to understand: cystic fibrosis.
“People look at you funny when you tell them your child has CF. He looks perfectly fine; it’s not something you can see,” said Van Hattum, of Albany.
Inside his little body, CJ is far from fine. CF affects around 30,000 people in the U.S. and attacks the lungs and digestive tract, so the simplest ailment, like the common cold, can last twice as long and CJ has been on antibiotics on and off since infancy.
“It makes every day living a challenge,” said Van Hattum.
She’s determined to help find a cure in her son’s lifetime so that each day doesn’t have to be a struggle, so Van Hattum raises money for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to fund research. On Sunday, March 25, she’ll hold the 2nd Cystic Fibrosis Cuts For a Cause at Destiny’s Hair and Nail Salon at 372 Delaware Ave.
“Anything we raise goes toward life saving research,” said Van Hattum. “Last year, we made about $1,500.”
People interested in a haircut or trim can make an appointment for March 25 from by calling 462-0226 or just walk in that day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“I just opened my doors for them to come in. I’m always open to stuff like that and it’s on a Sunday and that’s originally when we’re closed so it kind of worked,” said Cindy Bishop Patel, owner of Destiny’s. “It was a question asked and a simple answer.”