SAN DIEGO - A local Marine finished a 65-mile run at Mission Bay Park on Saturday to raise money in the fight against cystic fibrosis, a disease his wife has been battling her entire life.
Jacquelyn Sjoberg has been battling cystic fibrosis for more than 35 years.
"It's almost like if you were to breathe through a straw," she said. "We don't look sick on the outside, yet over half of my lung function is gone."
For the past three years, her Marine husband Jesse has organized a one-day, 65-mile run called "65 Miles for 65 Roses" to raise money for her and others who suffer from the disease.
"I'm out here today suffering for one day … kind of what 'CF'ers' feel like every day, which is that struggle to breathe," said Jesse.
Since Jesse could not be in San Diego during the event's first year, he instead did it while he was deployed in Bahrain in 90-degree weather.
"It was a 1.25 mile loop. We did it 52 times and did it at night because it's obviously hot over there," said Jesse.
He said there is a special meaning behind the "65 Miles for 65 Roses" name.
Jesse says when children who suffer from cystic fibrosis are asked what is wrong with them, their response sounds more like "65 roses," forever linking that beautiful image to the incurable disease.
"They can't say cystic fibrosis correctly so they say it '65 roses,'" said Ayden Sjoberg, the couple's 6-year-old son. He says he understands cystic fibrosis and understands why his mother has so much trouble breathing.
"The cystic fibrosis is when your lungs fill up with mucus," he said.
Jesse says he no doubt struggles to catch his breath during the 12 to 13 hours it takes him to complete the grueling 65-mile run, but says his wife fights to breathe every day, a comparison that is hardly fair.
"I'm going to keep doing this until my body just won't let me do it anymore or we find a cure," he said.
Jesse tells 10News that Saturday's event brought in more than $21,000 in donations. Last year's event raised more than $25,000.