NORMAN — More than four decades ago, doctors diagnosed 6-month-old Kim Fehrman with cystic fibrosis, then told her parents she wouldn't live long enough to start kindergarten.
Her life expectancy continually increased, though, as research and medical advances were made in the fight against the chronic disease that produces mucus, which clogs the lungs and hinders food digestion.
Kim — now married to Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell — turns 45 next month, but continues to battle her illness every day with medicine, airway clearance techniques, exercise and fundraising.
She's combined the latter two for Saturday's second “Shake It For CF Zumbathon,” scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon at Norman's Crosspointe Church.
Tickets are $25, with all proceeds directly benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In addition to the dance fitness workout, there will be a raffle of donated prizes, including gift certificates, beauty products and signed sports memorabilia.
“I like Zumba, and I thought this would be something I could put together on my own,” Kim Norvell said. “I've been utterly amazed by the response. This year, I've got corporate sponsors that are helping me pay for T-shirts and so many people have donated prizes.”
Around 30,000 children and adults in the United States — 70,000 worldwide — suffer from the disease, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's website. There is still no cure.
When Kim Norvell was younger, her parents would have to perform airway clearance techniques, which involved putting her in different positions and hitting her chest and lower back, three times a day.
“That would take like 30 to 45 minutes to do a full treatment,” she said. “Now, I have a therapy vest that does it for me. Just as an example of how things have changed since I was little.
“The kids that are born today have so many more options available to them to prevent lung damage than my age group ever did. We are pretty fortunate that we have what we have available to us today.”
Still, for adults and children living with the disease today, treatments and medicines are time consuming and expensive.
Those struggles can be magnified for Kim Norvell, who also deals with the typical challenges that come with being a coach's wife.
“I'm pretty stubborn, so I've always been very adamant that I was not gonna be that poor sick girl that couldn't do things,” she said. “I try really hard not to let anything deter me from living a normal life.”
Shake It For CF Zumbathon
What: Fundraising event for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, featuring Zumba — a dance fitness workout — and a raffle for donated prizes. Participants receive a T-shirt, food and drinks.
When: 10 a.m.-noon Saturday
Where: Crosspointe Church; 2601 24th Ave SE, Norman
Tickets: $25; available at http://brownpapertickets.com. All proceeds directly benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.