- Posted March 10, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Impact Your World
National Television Star and Local WingHouse Girl Advocates for Cystic Fibrosis
For Sims, 23, the North Florida Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an organization close to her heart. When she was only 4-years-old, Sims was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, and she has made it her personal mission to increase awareness and raise funds for research.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). The disorder clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections as well as obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
"I couldn't imagine having to deal with the struggles of cystic fibrosis day-in and day-out and still be as positive as she is," says Andy Browne, general manager of the Ker’s WingHouse of Gainesville. Browne recognizes Sims' personality as her greatest strength and said that her many regular customers love her.
"My community does a lot for me, and this is a way for me to give back. If something were to happen to me, this is how my efforts can continue," says Sims.
When Sims was only 17-years-old, she spoke at the Jacksonville Jaguars Tailgate, raising $15,000. Since then, she has been a guest speaker on two other occasions to further her fundraising initiative.
"Whenever I can go and speak, if the option is there, I want to go," says Sims.
In 2009, Sims helped organize the Bradford County Great Strides Walk, which raises funds for the North Florida Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 90 cents of every dollar goes to research, while the remaining 10 cents is used to fund the walk. Sims' efforts to organize the event helped to raise a staggering $90,000.
When Sims decided to join the Dreadknots on “Ax Men,” she didn't have any problem fitting-in with the guys because she comes from a family of loggers.
“For me, the best part of being on the show is generating awareness for Cystic Fibrosis.” says Sims. "It is extremely gratifying to shed light on the disease, as it draws attention towards the individuals and families who are battling it,” Sims explains.
Sims enjoys wake boarding, surfing, fishing and dancing, which has helped her maintain an active lifestyle. Currently enrolled at Santa Fe College, she is studying public relations. Recently, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation asked Sims to be the national spokeswomen for the organization and will pursue such a role post graduation.
Sims has been working at Ker’s WingHouse part-time since November and enjoys the environment.
"She's always in a good mood, always smiling, and just a pleasure to work with," furthers Browne.
Browne said the store will be sponsoring Sims to compete in the Miss Jacksonville USA Pageant this coming March.