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Poker run for Ollie slated for Aug. 14

If you watched Ollie Pearl DuBose toddle through her home, leaving tiny footprints on her momma’s freshly-mopped floors, you’d never dream that she, her family and an army of friends fight lung disease every day of her life.

Ollie Pearl, the 15-month-old-daughter of Lynsey (nee Williams) and John DuBose of Andalusia, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was about 4 weeks old. CF is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. Routine hospital screening of newborns led to little Ollie’s early diagnosis and put her on a path of optimum health care.

And almost as quickly as then-newborn Ollie was diagnosed, her mother organized Ollie’s Army to help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raise money for CF research.

This weekend, Ollie’s Army will host its second annual Ollie’s Army Gantt Lake poker run set for Sat., Aug. 14, from noon until 9 p.m.

Poker hands are $20 each, and participants may purchase up to five hands beginning at noon at Sleepy Point next to Dunn’s Bridge. The poker run begins at 1 p.m. with stops set up at eight different piers. Registration will continue until 4 p.m., and poker hands must be turned in by 5 p.m. Participants may choose five of the eight piers at which to stop and a draw card for each hand of poker purchased.

Ollie’s Army is awarding $500 in cash prizes to the top three hands, with $250 for first place, $150 for second place; and $100 for third place.

Lynsey DuBose said for those who don’t wish to play, there will be festivities and fun at Sleepy Point, including music, a bouncy house and slide, barbecue, boiled peanuts, a silent auction and a raffle. Live entertainment begins at 6 p.m.

Among the other members of the “army” who’ll make sure the poker run comes off without a hitch this weekend are Lesley Thorn, Katie Howell, Heather Smith, Amy DuBose, Jennifer Lee, Sage Mallory, Claire Walters, Emily Maynor, Meg Shelnutt, Lindsey Reeves, Tina Rogers, Ashley Daniel, Laura Laird, Courtney Chesser, Amy Goddson, Elizabeth Carter, Kellie Holland, Summer Reeves, Allison Foshee, Andrea Wilson, Anna Reeves, Anna Ricks and Valerie DuBose.

Those not participating in the poker run are asked to make a donation to Ollie’s Army.

The funds raised will be used for the CF Foundation and for Ollie’s long-term care.

Ollie’s care involves daily doses of an enzyme that helps her body absorb the nutrients from food, as well as about 90 minutes of breathing treatments each day. She also has physical therapy sessions in which her parents or grandparents “pat” her back and chest daily to help her lungs function normally. DuBose said she hopes to be able to purchase a vest that Ollie can wear to administer the pats when she grows a little larger.

Ollie also sees a doctor more regularly than most of her peers and is regularly tested for lung infections. She has been infection-free for about nine months now.

Members of Ollie’s Army meet to discuss plans for the upcoming poker run slated for Aug. 14. | Michele Gerlach/Star-News