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KTVM Local Hero Salute: Couple helps families living with deadly disease

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Jul 23 2013 03:23:00 PM MDT
Updated On: Jul 24 2013 03:48:23 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

12 year-old Carsten Manring has to go through a daily routine of expensive treatments.

He ingests a special medicine through an inhaler several times a day, wears a vest hooked to a machine that shakes his chest area for 20 minutes twice a day, and hooks a medicine bag into a button attached to his stomach every night before he goes to bed.

Carsten has to go through this routine because he has a deadly genetic disease that affects the lung and pancreas.

He was just three years old when his parents found out he had cystic fibrosis.

"It's a devastating diagnosis," Carsten's mother Angela said. "It's life shortening and it's fatal. He will die of CF."

At the time, they didn't know anyone else with the disease- anyone to turn to for support.

George and Ginny Dieruf were in the same boat when their daughter, Cody, was diagnosed at nine years old.

"Before she passed away- she had asked us to help families" Ginny said.

Cody died in 2005, when she was 23. Before she passed, she asked her parents to spread an important message long after Cody was gone.

"Cystic fibrosis isn't about dying, it's about living," Ginny said, repeating her daughter's words.

And so, George and Ginny founded the Cody Dieruf Benefit Foundation, to help families like the Manrings.

The foundation offers assistance from covering medical expenses, to emotional support.

"Sometimes when I'm having a down moment, I'll call Grandma Ginny," a smiling Carsten said, adding "It's just helped our family a lot."

The family says they don't know where they'd be without the Dierufs.

"It's really nice that somebody is reaching out to help us like this," Carsten said. For him, the couple has made all the difference in his battle with CF.

"We just fall in love with all the families. They're wonderful," Ginny said, about what it's been like for them to help out. "As hard as it can be, it's just such a rewarding rewarding experience to know that you're helping someone else. It's great."

Helping these CF families, by carrying on their daughter's last wish.

"It's been wonderful for us," Ginny said, adding tearfully "it's filled a dream for our daughter."

Click here to find out more about the Dieruf family and the Cody Dieruf Benefit Foundation for Cystic Fibrosis.

If you know someone like George and Ginny, click here to nominate them for a Local Hero Salute Award.