When organizers started Anna's Amazing Race two years ago, they had just learned of cystic fibrosis.

One week after 2-year-old Anna Becket, daughter of York Catholic graduates Kate and Alexander Becket, was born, she was diagnosed with the life-threatening disease, which affects the lungs and digestive system.

And now, in the event's third year, it has raised about $22,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, said Robert Godfrey, one of the event's organizers.

"It's really amazing," he said. "We had no idea we would ever be able to do quite this much."

Similar to the TV show "The Amazing Race," Anna's Amazing Race sends teams on mental and physical challenges across York County. Past challenges include planting flowers at a greenhouse, singing and dancing as a group and finding specific items in a cemetery.

Anna's battle: Cystic fibrosis makes life difficult for little Anna, who takes enzymes with every meal and has to do breathing treatments because of the mucus in her lungs. The disease especially afflicts her in the winter, making it harder for her lungs to function, Godfrey said, but you wouldn't know it by looking at her.

"If most people would look at Anna, she looks pretty normal and looks pretty fine," he said.

The life expectancy for someone with the disease is in the late 30s, but researchers are closer than ever to a cure, Godfrey said. That's why the event sends all proceeds to research.

In its first year, Anna's Amazing Race raised more than $9,700, shattering its $2,500 goal. Last year, the event raised more than $12,000, beating its goal of $10,000. And this year, organizers hope to maintain the streak and beat their $12,000 fundraising goal, Godfrey said.

This year's race will kick off at 1:33 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, at Rocky Ridge Park in Springettsbury Township.

May means more than nice weather: It is National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, and it's as good a time as ever to raise money for research, he said.

"They're really close to finding a cure," Godfrey said. "That's really why we're excited: This could really make a big difference."

— Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.