Tuesday, October 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Camps take cystic fibrosis patients surfing

Surf Therapy

In this July 24, 2014, photo, Gavin Montelone, 8, right, gets help riding a wave from volunteer Bobby Friedman in San Clemente, Calif. Gavin and two of his siblings are part of a growing number of people with cystic fibrosis who are taking advantage of the health benefits that come with surfing. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

By
From page A1 | August 18, 2014 |

SAN CLEMENTE — For three of Rob and Paulette Montelone’s five kids, spending the summer surfing is more than just a fun activity. It could also extend their lives.

The Montelone siblings are part of a growing number of people with cystic fibrosis who are taking advantage of the health benefits that come with surfing.

Since researchers realized that the salt water in the ocean helps clear out the thick mucus that builds up in patients’ lungs, organizations have started around the world that teach those with the disease how to “hang 10.’

“We have found the silver lining to it all and that has been through surfing,” Paulette Montelone said on a recent summer day while her five children were out in the water at San Onofre State Beach in Southern California. “It’s helping them breathe better … but it’s also helping us, as a family, enjoy something together.”

The average lifespan for someone with cystic fibrosis is about 40, but many patients don’t make it past their teens. The genetic condition, which must be inherited from both parents, affects 70,000 people worldwide.

There is no known cure, but about a decade ago, doctors in Australia noticed that patients who surfed seemed to breathe easier. Subsequent studies resulted in new saline treatments for patients in 2006 based on the salt water discovery.

“They saw a big difference in a lot of things: in pulmonary function, in need for hospitalization, in how well they felt,” said Dr. Bruce Nickerson, a pulmonary specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

The discovery also led to the development of organizations like the Mauli Ola Foundation, which means “breath of life” in Hawaiian. The organization pairs patients with professional surfers, including Kelly Slater and Sunny Garcia.

The entire Montelone clan, who said they have no family history of the disease, found Mauli Ola a year after three of the kids were diagnosed. They learned to surf – a natural treatment that helps lubricate the patients’ airways.

“They’re spitting up their mucous. I mean I’m out there going, ‘hey cough it up man. No shame,'” said Josh Baxter, a world champion surfer who volunteers with Mauli Ola and regularly surfs with the Montelones.

Known as the “Brady bunch” of the cystic fibrosis world, the Montelones have a 12-year-old son named Michael and two sets of twins – Grace and Gavin, 8, and Brooke and Brian, 10.

In 2008, Gavin tested positive for the disease after being taken to a specialist for persistent sinus problems. After Gavin’s diagnosis, the Montelones had all of their children tested and learned that Brooke and Michael also had it.

“The people who told us were so serious about it. They talked about children that pass away and the seriousness and it was a huge, frightening kick in the gut,” Paulette Montelone said. “Our life from that moment forward would never really be the same.”

Between Michael, Brooke and Gavin – or as the family calls them, “the CF-ers” – the family visits the doctor at least once a month with appointments that last up to six hours. In order to be able to do all of their treatments and still get to school on time, the kids wake up just after 5 a.m. every day.

During their one of their daily treatments, the kids wear a vibrating vest that shakes them to break up the mucus in their lungs while inhaling hypertonic saline.

The family treks from their inland Yorba Linda, California home to the beach at least once a week every summer, often camping at San Onofre State Beach for days at a time. They do their treatments on the beach in between surfing sessions.

The trio teased each other as they sat in the sand and breathed in their treatments through masks strapped to their faces while waves crashed a few feet away.

Gavin wore a T-shirt with the words “Breathe Life” emblazoned across it, a phrase the Montelones refer to as their family motto.

As the oldest of his siblings, Michael seems to be the most aware of the sobering implications of cystic fibrosis.

Every winter, results from his lung function tests go down by about 5 percent, a cyclical decrease that is a constant and scary reminder of what lies ahead. But every summer, when he gets back in the water, the numbers bounce back, giving his parents a sliver of hope.

“I still fear that, like, I’m gonna die or my brother and sister might,” Michael said. “I know that could happen but I try and put it in the back of my head so that I can keep moving through all the days.”

The Montelones say that’s why they have been so thankful for surfing – not only because of the health benefits for their children, but also because of the time it gives them together as a family.

As 8-year-old Gavin laughed with his parents while struggling to squeeze into his wetsuit, he seemed like a normal kid, not someone who had been hospitalized two weeks before.

His twin sister, Grace watched the happy moment and grinned. “The treatment isn’t what bugs me. It’s how I hear stories of how kids die from CF at a young age,” she said.

“It makes me feel scared about my brothers and sisters – but when I go surfing, I forget about all of that,” she said.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 24 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Police Department hosts employee recognition event

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5

.

US / World

Police say they might have spotted ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta dies at 82

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Yosemite proposes raising entrance, camping fees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 3 Comments

 
CDC releases revised Ebola gear guidelines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Clinton: Midterm elections should motivate women

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Surfer fends off shark attack with fist, board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WWII airman to be buried in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Brown: California needs long-term vision on water

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 4 Comments

Colorado proposes edible pot ban, then retreats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

 
Submarine hunt sends Cold War chill across Baltic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Oscar Pistorius to finally learn his sentence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Youths, tech workers duel over San Francisco field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Suspect in Va. abduction charged in DC area rape

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Lacking a plan, Abbas opts for rhetoric

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Police: Indiana suspect hints at more killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Turkey says it helps Kurdish fighters enter Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nigeria declared Ebola-free; ‘spectacular success’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Urgent-care clinics ill-equipped to treat Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
British royal couples’ 2nd child due in April

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Opinion

Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

 
Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Yearwood, Santana to perform at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Standing ovation at Met Opera despite protest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Still the Same: Bob Seger launching tour, album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
San Francisco radio stations ban hit song ‘Royals’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Pitbull to host American Music Awards on Nov. 23

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ actor arrested in Idaho

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

NBC’s Snyderman faces credibility issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Not so fast cordcutters – cable’s not going anywhere

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Local Report: Armijo boys soccer team falls to Vintage

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Steelers rally past stunned Texans 30-23

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Bumgarner against Shields in World Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Champion drag racer Raymond Beadle dies at 70

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Stiviano lawsuit against Shelly Sterling dismissed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

With TD mark in bag, Manning can set more records

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Giants-Royals: A capsule look at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Belichick, Brady praise Manning on TD record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Penn State board to meet on disputed Freeh Report

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McIlroy to skip 2 events to focus on lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Column: Keselowski marches to his own beat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Wanted: Cities interested in hosting 2024 Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Giants rely on core of 4 relievers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Royals, fans bond over improbable postseason run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Voynov suspended on domestic violence suspicion

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Facebook sues law firms, claims fraud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Apple reports record 39.3 million iPhone sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

US regulator: Fannie, Freddie in deal with banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sears plans to raise more cash via rights offering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Survey: Pay raises rarer despite strong US hiring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
US agency warns car owners to get air bags fixed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6