Someone You Should Know
MEET MAKENZIE LAWREY, A SUPERHERO, HER BROTHER'S BEST ADVOCATE
Makenzie Lawrey was in every sense a normal child. And then her brother became ill. Gavin Lawrey in 2012 was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a rare and incurable neurological condition known as the invisible disease, causing seizures and other health issues limiting the full enjoyment of childhood. Watching her brother struggle made Makenzie want to help. So she wrote a book, hoping to use the proceeds, in part, to help cover the immense costs of treating a seriously ill child. Her larger goal is a cure. Mighty Mito Superhero is a picture and photo book written from Makenzie’s perspective, using the imaginary superhero Mito to battle seizures, tremors and other health issues related to her brother’s fight. The book allows a “small glimpse into this Mito Warrior’s world. He is a real superhero,” she wrote in a promotional piece for her book. Makenzie’s goal is to raise $1 million. The book is available on Amazon. The Cape Coral family also has a large social-media crusade. In the foreword of her book, Makenzie wrote: “I am writing this book in honor of my little brother Gavin. Gavin has Mitochondrial Disease. Not many people know about mito, and there is no cure. I have hope that I can raise awareness and raise money to find a cure so that people like my brother won’t have to suffer anymore. Mito is killing more children than all pediatric cancers combined. It’s time we find a cure!” Cape Coral Living asked Makenzie to share her story.
I DECIDED TO WRITE MY BOOK when I was 9 years old, when I found out that the doctors had decided to put my brother in hospice. I also wanted to help other people understand what mitochondrial disease is and how it affects my brother. My goal is that the book will help me get to my goal of raising $1 million toward a cure.
THE SUPERHERO PART OF MY STORY is based on my brother Gavin and how strong he is. He has superhero strength when it comes to dealing with mito. He is so brave.
I KNEW THINGS WERE COMING TOGETHER with my book when I started talking to Gavin’s doctor and better understanding what mito was myself.
I WAS SURPRISED by how much work writing a book is. It was fun and exciting, but also stressful and hard at times. I just hope it helps raise awareness and raise money for a cure.
THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY BOOK was the first day it launched on Amazon and was No. 1 overall for a few minutes, but it was also No. 1 in my category for a few days.
THE REACTION has been amazing. I am so happy that it has been selling so well and raising awareness about mito.
YEARS FROM NOW I hope people will still be buying this book, supporting research for mito, to have published a second children’s book about mito and more than anything ... I hope there is a CURE!
I HAVE BEEN SO FORTUNATE because of all of the incredible support I have received from friends and family. My parents and brother encouraged me even when I felt overwhelmed or frustrated. My brother’s doctor, Jose Colon, was a huge help when it came to explaining mito in a way that made sense to me. Dr. Colon broke down difficult medical topics and helped me understand them so that I could explain it in my book in a way that would make sense to others. My friend and cartoonist, Phil Rood, was also a big part of bringing my book to life. He helped Gavin create what he would look like as a superhero and donated his time and talent to creating all of the illustrations for my book.
I MOST ENJOY doing book signings. I had a book launch at the Lee County Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers. I couldn’t believe all the people who showed up to support me and purchase my book. Gavin's and my pediatrician came and purchased books for each examination room for families to read. The other book signing that really stands out to me was the one I did at the Energy for Life Walk in Tampa. I was able to meet other families who have dealt with mito, and they told me how my book helped them. That has meant the most to me.
Makenzie Lawrey wrote a book to help her little brother, Gavin, in his fight against mitochondrial disease. Right, Makenzie and Gavin with their mom and dad, Brandi and Jeff.