Southern Utah University will lend its support to the upcoming Great Strides: A Walk to Cure Cystic Fibrosis to be held May 18.

According to Bud Bowman, Iron County chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, SUU President Gerald R. Sherratt will act as honorary chairman of this year's 10 kilometer walk that seeks to raise funds to find a cure for the disease."It's going to be a big help," Bowman said. "He's very enthused about the project."

The annual Great Strides fund-raiser began in Utah three years ago. This year it will be held in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Provo, Cedar City and Evanston, Wyo. The walk will be the first held in Iron County and is the culmination of a personal campaign by Bowman and his wife, Marilyn, that had its beginnings when their grandson, Clint, son of Mike and Jeanne Connell of St. George, was diagnosed as having the disease.

Cystic fibrosis is the leading genetic killer of children and young adults in the United States today, with some 12 million Americans carrying the defective gene that causes CF. Once thought to be decades away, recent medical breakthroughs hold the promise that a cure may be found within a few years or less, Bowman said.

A Utah Highway Patrol trooper, Bowman is the immediate past president of the Utah Public Employees Association, which is officially sponsoring three of the Great Strides fund-raisers. Participants will collect money for each kilometer the walk on the 10K (6.2 miles) course, which will begin at the SUU Administration Building. Rhea Tuft is setting up the course to be followed.

Kim Peek, a savant who was the model for the character played by Dustin Hoffman in the motion picture "Rain Man," will be the special guest at the Great Strides walk. Peek, who is a resident of Sandy, will attend with his father, although he is unable to walk and will be driven along the course. Peek will hold a question and answer session among the activities scheduled at the walk's conclusion.

SUU Publications Director Larry Baker will be the on-campus chairman for the event. For further information, contact Baker at 586-7751 or the Beehive Utah Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at 322-2226.