Way to Go: John Byrne, Island Park

John Byrne, a sixth-grader at Lincoln Orens Middle John Byrne, a sixth-grader at Lincoln Orens Middle School, is fundraising to participate in this summer's Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides Walk in Old Westbury. Photo Credit: handout

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John Byrne has helped his community by engaging in everything from food drives to U.S. flag replacements.

The sixth-grader at Lincoln Orens Middle School in Island Park, who was diagnosed four years ago with cystic fibrosis, said his current community service effort is to raise $2,500 from friends and family to sponsor his participation in this summer's Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides Walk in Old Westbury.

"A lot of people have heard of it, but they don't really know what it is," said Byrne, 11, of the disease that causes mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract. "Some just think that it's asthma, but I take many medications. I want to make people more aware."

Byrne's other activities include beautification projects outside Island Park Village Hall and Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School in Island Park. He facilitated the replacement of a tattered U.S. flag at Hegarty last year by reporting it directly to the superintendent.

He also has assisted in a coat drive held by his school's Builders Club and a food drive in which he collected food donations outside Oceanside's Stop & Shop to benefit Sacred Heart Food Pantry in Island Park.

He is a member of his Student Council and Boy Scouts Troop 312.

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