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What is 65 Roses?

“65 Roses” is what some children with cystic fibrosis (CF) call their disease because the words are much easier for them to pronounce.

Mary G. Weiss became a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 1965 after learning that her three little boys had CF. Her duty was to call every civic club, social and service organization seeking financial support for CF research. Mary’s 4-year-old son, Richard, listened closely to his mother as she made each call.

Weiss Brothers Then
The Weiss brothers, Richard, 5; Arthur, 7 and
Anthony, 16 months.

After several calls, Richard came into the room and told his Mom, “I know what you are working for.” Mary was dumbstruck because Richard did not know what she was doing, nor did he know that he had cystic fibrosis. With some trepidation, Mary asked, “What am I working for, Richard?” He answered, “You are working for 65 Roses.” Mary was speechless.

He could not see the tears running down Mary’s cheeks as she stammered, “Yes Richard, I’m working for 65 Roses.”

Since 1965, the term “65 Roses” has been used by children of all ages to describe their disease. But, making it easier to say does not make CF any easier to live with. The “65 Roses” story has captured the hearts and emotions of all who have heard it. The rose, appropriately the ancient symbol of love, has become a symbol of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

65 Roses® is a registered trademark of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Updated 09/19/06

One response »

  1. Debi Routt Brasfield

    In all my years of working with CF, I have never heard this story and it brought tears to my eyes. Sutton will find that the people who are involved in CF no matter where you might be!

    Reply

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