Lately I have been feeling very much like a boxer in a ring. I have been physically and emotionally knocked down more times than I can count in the last four months. Making the decision to get back up each time hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to stay down, to stayed knocked out for the count. Some days I have to force myself to be hopeful. “I will survive. I will survive. I will survive.” Other days I choose to engage the world when my heart wants nothing more than to go hide away. It’s a constant battle and I am always in search of inspiration.
One of my greatest sources of inspiration, even before I was diagnosed with cancer, has been one very brave family I know named the Lawreys. I went to high school with Brandi Lawrey and have kept track of her as she got married and started a family of her own. And I’ve followed her family’s story as they have struggled with her son Gavin’s diagnosis of mitochondrial disease. Mitochondrial disease is a failure of the mitochondrial cells which produce 90% of our bodies’ energy. It results in devastating illness and in Gavin’s case began with unexplained seizures and has led to problems with his lungs among many others. Even though Gavin is just a young boy he often doesn’t have the energy to make it through a full day of school or participate in the kinds of activities that other kids his age can.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for mitochondrial disease and most children with mito don’t survive into adulthood. In the face of this debilitating and life-threatening disease though the Lawreys have shown the rest of us over and over and over again how to have hope. They have gotten knocked down an unimaginable number of times but continue to stand back up. Brandi especially has been a great source of inspiration to me as I have struggled some days to find the hope I need to carry me through. I know if Brandi can do it, if Gavin can do it, if the Lawreys can do it than so can I.
Now Gavin’s sister Makenzie is on a mission. She wants to raise $1 million for research into mitochondrial disease, to find a cure and to save her brother’s life. As part of her quest she has written a book. I highly encourage you to take a few minutes and spend the $11 and buy Makenzie’s book. And please take a moment to watch this beautiful video of this incredible family, the Lawreys, my personal heroes.
You can follow Gavin’s journey as the Mighty Mito Superhero on his Facebook page here.