Mt. Juliet's Vera Smith had a soft spot in her heart for helping others long before she, with a group of dedicated volunteers, founded Cure for Our Friends to aid locals affected by Cystic Fibrosis.
Smith said she was inspired by a girl named Tori. Even though Tori passed away at a young age, Smith's passion for giving has continued to grow.
Smith explained that Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic terminal disease. "Their physical appearance is so normal, families are frequently asked, 'Is he or she sick?' In a normal day, they spend 2-3 hours doing breathing treatments with a vest that loosens the mucus in their lungs," she explained. "They also have to take enzymes before each meal to help with the digestive system. They usually average, at minimum, 2-3 week hospital stays a year."
Smith is proud to admit that Cure for Our Friends has assisted "all the families that have reached out to us, so far."
"The CF Foundation has our information and sends folks our way as well," she said.
Cure for Our Friends raises funds annually through a golf tournament and other events. The upcoming tournament is set for April 22, 2017, and has been consistently held at Windtree Golf Course in Mt. Juliet.
"We are fortunate that several of the local businesses help us at their events. My brother, Jerry and his wife, Kathy, host events for us in Florida, as well. We are working on a event with (country duo) Branch & Dean, the National Celebrity Ambassadors for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in the very near future," she said.
Smith, originally from Somerset, Pennsylvania, moved to Wilson County for the school system 30 years ago. She is VP of Flexible Metal Products in Mt. Juliet and Co-owner of Salon Galleria.
She has two adult children and three healthy grandchildren. Her daughter is Michelle Butler. Michelle and her husband, Chris, have one daughter, Keely. Smith said they are very involved in Cure for Our Friends.
Smith's son, Michael Gregory, and his wife, Lindsay, have two children, Kaden and McClain.
She has a great-nephew, Aaron.
In her spare time, Smith enjoys traveling, reading and boating as a family.
Some of the women she most admires are the mothers of children who have terminal illnesses.
For more information about CF and how you can help locally, visit cureforourfriends.org.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.