MOF Charleston, South Carolina Introduces Awareness...
At Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina Mauli Ola Foundation introduced, for the first time, a therapeutic surfing program for patients with Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. The surfing experience day which took place on Sunday, August 29, 2010 actually combined Cystic Fibrosis patients with Alpha 1 patients, demonstrating the medical validity of surfing exposure for both genetic disorders and bringing these two deserving communities together.
This groundbreaking surf experience day was hosted by veteran surf instructor Kai Diling and his acclaimed Sol Surfers Surf Camp. With over twenty-five years of surfing experience, Diling has dedicated himself to helping students of all ages and skill levels to safely learn to surf and to appreciate the health benefits associated with surfing.
It was a tight squeeze negotiating the narrow winding roads of the sleepy beach town in Charleston. “It was a challenge getting to Folly Beach, but the instruction given by Dr. Charles Strange and the addition of Alpha 1 patients made this event worth the trip and truly unique and special,” explained MOF Surf Experience Director, Bobby Serna.
Dr. Charles Strange is Professor of Pulmonary Medicine at the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and a renowned leader in the study of the genetic disease, Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. “In addition to CF, some of the kids we work with have other genetic diseases as well, but this was the first event where Alpha 1 patients were there,” stated Serna. In direct contrast to Cystic Fibrosis which shows its face in early childhood, Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency is an adult- onset disease that exhibits symptoms similar to that of bronchitis or asthma in one’s thirties or forties.
One effective exercise that opens and expands the lungs of Alpha 1 patients is to lay them down and flap their arms like wings and in a circular rotation, much like the motion made when paddle surfing. This correlation validates and confirms the healing mechanisms of paddle surfing for Alpha 1 patients. “It is great that we can teach these patients to surf, but the main thing we're doing is raising awareness for CF and for other genetic diseases, and to show the kids a good time; to boost morale,” continues Serna.
Because of the unique nature of Charleston’s Surf Experience Day, WCSC, Charleston’s Live 5 News, came down to shoot a news story on the event. Reporters from Live 5 News interviewed Dr. Strange along with pro surfer Kalani Robb and one patient's mom who proudly wore her Flexfit MOF camo hat during her interview. And according to Bobby Serna, “The camo Flexfit MOF hat has now become symbolic of the fight against CF!”