Founder Pete Odland's son Dylan was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) in January of 1997, when he was just 4 months old. Pete received news of Dylan’s diagnosis on a Friday evening, and he immediately turned to his 1984 Britannica encyclopedias to learn more about the disease. What he read that night was, “The prognosis is grim. Most children born with cystic fibrosis will not live long enough to attend elementary school”. Pete felt like his whole world had fallen apart and was absolutely devastated. He spent most of that night in Dylan’s room, watching him sleep, and quietly crying for his son’s uncertain future.
The next morning, Pete woke with a determination to learn as much as he could about this disease. He logged onto this new thing called the internet and began scouring it for information. He quickly learned that since his encyclopedias were printed, only 12 years prior, the information was outdated, and the life expectancy was now around 20 years old! Pete thought to himself, “We have time to fight this beast!” Two days later, Pete was at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) asking what he could do to help. He began working tirelessly, and quickly began raising respectable amounts of money for the CFF. Pete continued to serve in this capacity for the next few years but realized that he needed to do even more if he was going to have a substantial affect on extending his son’s life.
In the fall of 2000, Pete was contemplating Dylan’s future while he was sitting in his tree-stand deer hunting. He asked himself what he could do that would more greatly impact the lives of children with cystic fibrosis. He suddenly realized that he was “Hunting For A Cure” for his son’s disease. He climbed down out of his tree-stand and returned home and began making plans. He decided he would form a 501c3 charity and call it “Hunt For A Cure” (HFC). Pete’s passion was contagious, and he quickly surrounded himself with a powerhouse of volunteers and board members. Leading this team, they found generous sponsors and supporters and have raised millions of dollars toward CF research.The HFC board wanted to fund research nearby so they could monitor the progress and see firsthand what the results were.
They began funding research projects at Michigan State University (MSU) and quickly found that they could leverage their investment by funding small projects to bring those projects to the level that CFF or the National Institute of Health (NIH) would be willing to make large grants that would carry the projects much further.Never satisfied, the board continued to search for the next big thing. They challenged Corewell Health (previously Spectrum Health) to find matching funds for $500,000 to open a research clinic right here in Grand Rapids, MI. Corewell Health in return turned to MSU to form a 3-way partnership along with HFC. Corewell Health turned the $ 500,000 HFC grant into 3.2 million dollars and the HFC dream of opening a local research lab was born.