Caroline Floyd can hardly hold back the tears as she talks about her friend, Drew. He was her first boyfriend; the first boy she stayed up all night on the phone with. And the first friend she lost to Cystic Fibrosis. “I just hurt so badly when I think of a life cut so short,” she says. “Especially someone like Drew. He was such an incredible person.” Drew died when he was just 26 years old from complications due to Cystic Fibrosis. Unfortunately, many patients face this fate, as the average life expectancy is in their late 30s. “Unlike you and me, when someone with CF gets a cold, it’s a very serious situation,” Floyd says. Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic, chronic disease that causes a sticky mucus to form and coat the lungs, producing life-threatening illnesses and infections. It also prevents the pancreas from creating natural enzymes that help the body break down and absorb food, causing patients to be malnourished. Many patients are required to take up to 30 enzyme pills a day, spend extended time in the hospital and have lung transplants very early in life. Floyd says she although she and Drew inevitably became simply friends, they stayed close through high school and college. He lived in Clemson but came to Charlotte for his treatments, where Floyd would come to play cards, cut jokes and keep him company. “When he stopped coming to Charlotte and was sent to Duke, I knew something was really wrong,” she says. “And then he was gone, just like that. Our hearts just broke.” Not long after Drew’s death, Floyd says she was surprised when her best friend, Kara, became engaged to a man with Cystic Fibrosis because there are so few people who have it. “It really hit home for me and I took it as a sign,” she says. “I had wanted to get involved with a nonprofit anyway, so the CF Foundation just seemed like the perfect fit.” Three years ago, Floyd decided to get involved with the foundation’s annual fundraiser, the Guys and Dolls Bachelor/Bachelorette auction as a bachelorette. Instead of simply auctioning off dates, the men and women create date packages made of sponsored items, which are then auctioned off. “My first year was so much fun and I made so many incredible friends,” says Floyd. “Honestly, it’s one of the best parties around, which I think is why we draw such a large crowd every year. People know when they come to the auction that they are going to have a really good time.” The event features a live and silent auction, passed hors d’ourvres and an open bar. Floyd says that while the auctions are a hit, it’s the guest speaker that usually highlights the evening. Last year, her friend Kara spoke about her now husband, Chris, who has Cystic Fibrosis. “She waited until that night to tell us all that Chris was a candidate for (an experimental drug) which only responds to four percent of patients,” says Floyd. “Six tables of people were there to support her and Chris and every one of us were in tears. It was so moving.” To purchase tickets or view date packages, visit guysanddollscharlotte.com.