www.whyville.net May 16, 2010 Weekly Issue

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A Living Miracle

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My cousin is a miracle. He would be dead right now if the doctors were right. He would've been dead years ago, actually.

When he was only two years old, my cousin was diagnosed with an uncommon disease: mitochondrial disease. Only one in 4,000 children in the United States develop this disorder. And my cousin is one of them. He has a serious form of the disease caused by a mutation that hadn't been detected in any patients until he was diagnosed in 2006. When he was diagnosed, he was given three months to live. Only three. Guess what? He's six years old now, and he's still alive. I've never been so glad to see doctors be wrong.

So what is mitochondrial disease? Basically, it's a genetic disorder in the mitochondria cells. My cousin's form of the disease affects his motor skills.

He can barely walk without falling, so he needs to either use his walker or hold someone's hand whenever he wants to walk. But I think he's used to it, he barely flinches when he falls. But he's a happy kid. I don't think he minds that it's hard to understand anything he says, or that it takes a long time for him to say a sentence. He stutters a lot, too. "W-want to h-have a-a r-r-race?" He asks me whenever I go over his house. He loves his monster trucks. For his sixth birthday he got to see the Monster Truck Finals, thanks the Make a Wish Foundation. He's always walking around with a truck. "This one is Gr-rave Digger Cl-classic," he tells me.

My family created the JDM Fund for Mitochondrial Research, an organization to raise money for research, to find a cure. Hopefully, one will be found soon. Hopefully my cousin will be able to walk without falling and talk without trouble. But for now, he's alive and he's happy, and that's all that matters.

Author's Note: Source: www.thejdmfund.org


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