NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Thousands of people were expected to attend the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s annual Great Strides walk Sunday.

The event kicked off at 10 a.m. at South Street Seaport in Manhattan, reports CBS2’s Marc Liverman.

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“It is honestly the wheels on the bus for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Each year, the foundation hosts about 600 walks nationwide. There’s about 150,000 people that come out to these,” said Mike Buscemi, of the Greater New York Chapter – Manhattan. “It’s really just an empowering day for all of the families that are affected by CF.”

This year’s ambassador, Alissa Katz, is a patient herself.

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“It’s really inspiring,” said 27-year-old David Gerard of Williamsburg who lives with cystic fibrosis. “It can be a time hassle but everyone has their struggles.”

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Gerard was diagnosed with the disease when he was just 2 and a half years old. His mom Mary says he spends about three hours a day just dealing with his medication regimen.

“When he was born they didn’t expect him to live this long,” she said.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle but you work through whatever problems you have and you don’t let it hold you back,” said Gerard.

“Because of all the money they raise and all the research that goes to, it’s personally benefited me for the drugs that I’m able to take and prolong my life and make a better quality of life for me, as well,” she told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.

Great Strides Walk Today At South Street Seaport

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For more information about today’s 3k walk, click here.