Some­one You Should Know

MEET MAKEN­ZIE LAWREY, A SU­PER­HERO, HER BROTHER'S BEST AD­VO­CATE

Cape Coral Living - - Cape Departmens -

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.

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