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About The Bonnell Foundation

Our daughters are our inspiration.
We must never stop working for a cure.

Our Mission

To give emotional and/or financial support to parents who have a loved one with cystic fibrosis. Our hope is one day no CF parent will experience the pain of losing a child to this disease.
Live – Breathe – Inspire

Our Purpose

The purpose of The Bonnell Foundation is to provide tools to navigate the difficulties of living with CF. We strive to connect families with resources through their CF journey.  The Bonnell Foundation offers college scholarships to those affected by CF, medical assistance and lung transplant grants.  We hope to equip families with a roadmap to guide their way.

Our Story

When I was 12 years old, I knew I wanted to be a news reporter. I was born to report the news, to tell other people’s stories. I thoroughly enjoyed my television and radio career. I felt I was making a difference in people’s lives. I went jogging with candidate (President) Clinton at Michigan State University (until my nylons ran and he left me in the dust). I have met politicians (then Attorney General Janet Reno, Senators, and Representatives), rock stars (Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, Joe Perry), activists like Jesse Jackson and civil rights icon Rosa Parks, along with ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings. The list goes on, but truly the best stories I did were about people trying to make a difference in the world. Then suddenly, I had a story to tell.

Twenty-five years ago, when Molly was born, my purpose in life became clear. Molly (and 2 and a half years later, Emily) were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. We were shocked to learn they had CF. We had no idea we were carriers. Joe (my husband) had 7 siblings who didn’t have children with CF.

Before I even realized I was a CF carrier, I was raising awareness about CF. For one year I worked for the Washtenaw United Way (WUW). Interestingly enough, the one year I was there, was 1989. I had no idea at the time how my life would change forever. At the W.U.W.I was putting together a promotional piece on its agencies. That’s when I met Jeff, a 24-year-old man with CF who was working on research at the University of Michigan.

In 1989, the doctor in charge was none other than Dr. Francis Collins (now the National Institute of Health Director). Dr. Collins was responsible in part for discovering the gene that causes cystic fibrosis. I was there, to witness the press conference on behalf of the W.U.W! It was an exciting, exhilarating day to be at U of M. All the Detroit media gathered for a news conference to interview Dr. Collins. I had no idea my future was a CF path. I was dating my future husband and we didn’t know we were CF carriers, and would later have two girls with CF.

Back in radio news, at WWJ Newsradio 950, I first had Molly and then Emily. Our pediatrician, who we adore to this day, thought I was crazy when I suspected Molly had CF. But I insisted Molly get tested. When the doctor called, I was heading to a breaking news story. She said I should pull over, and I knew what she was going to tell me. Our baby had CF. Joe and I cried for one day and then we said, “What do we need to do to live with CF?” And so, it began, slowly.

Our daughters are our inspiration. We must never stop working for a cure.

This is when I asked for and got help from my peers in radio, television and the print media. Public Service Announcements aired on TV and radio stations. Newsworthy stories about CF were written in the print media and airing on TV and radio stations. A celebrity baseball game began, media versus law enforcement. Police from Detroit to Sterling Heights played against TV and radio personalities (WXYZ’s Mary Conway, Joanne Purtan, Cheryl Chodun and Kim Adams, Charlie Langton, Vickie Thomas and Jason Scott to name a few. The Portraits of CF calendars also came about, featuring people with CF, showing their strength, in spite of the disease. They are our inspiration. We have come so far in the past 30 years since the gene was discovered. Lifesaving drugs like Trikafta are helping people with CF. But the need for financial help continues and that’s why the Bonnell Foundation exits. Thanks for all your support in both volunteering and with financial donations.

Back in radio news, at WWJ Newsradio 950, I first had Molly and then Emily. Our pediatrician, who we adore to this day, thought I was crazy when I suspected Molly had CF. But i insisted she be tested. When the doctor called I was heading to a breaking news story. She said I should pull over and I knew what she was going to tell me. Our baby had CF. Joe and I cried for one day and then we said, “what do we need to do to live with CF?” And so it began, slowly.

Our daughters are our inspiration. We must never stop working for a cure.

This is when I asked for and got help from my peers in radio, television and the print media. Public Service Announcements aired on TV and radio stations. Newsworthy stories about CF were written in the print media and airing on TV and radio stations. A celebrity baseball game featured then Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon (with several other police officers) against TV personalities WXYZ’s Mary Conway, Joanne Purtan, Cheryl Chodun and Kim Adams to name a few. The Portraits of CF calendars also came about, featuring children and young adults with CF, showing their strength, in spite of the disease. They are our inspiration.

Financial Information

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes fatal and chronic lung infections and interferes with digestion. The life expectancy today is the mid-30’s. There is no cure. But funding research, and perfecting medications will help people with CF live long lives. Thirty thousand people in the United States have Cystic Fibrosis.

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