by Eleanor Goldberg)
Gavin Lawrey’s rare illness often zaps his energy, making it difficult for him to do all the activities he loves. But his sister, Makenzie, still sees him as nothing short of a superhero.
The 6-year-old Cape Coral, Fla., boy has mitochondrial disease, or mito, a condition that can damage cells in the body’s major organs and lead to muscle weakness, poor growth and cardiac or liver disease, among a number of other serious issues, according to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.
When Makenzie learned the extent of her brother’s sickness and the fact that research for a cure is underfunded, she decided she had to do something about it, NBC 2 reported.
The 9-year-old girl sat down and wrote "Mighty Mito Superhero," a book that explains Gavin’s disease and the trials he goes through every day. She hopes to raise awareness about her brother’s condition and to also raise $1 million to find a cure.
"I wanted a better way for people to understand mito," Makenzie told News-Press of her goals.
The book, which required Makenzie to tackle daunting research, tells the story of how Gavin becomes his alter-ego, a superhero named Mito Action G. Mito Action G's powers allow him to cure kids’ seizures and defeat the evil villain, Mito, according to News-Press.
Makenzie sold 500 books in a week and raised $20,000. She plans to continue pushing forward until she reaches her goal.
"It makes me feel really good because I know that even if [Gavin] doesn't feel good, I can still help in a way," the young author told WINK News.
Find out how you can help Makenzie Lawrey raise funds for her superhero brother by visiting the family’s Hope 4 Mito site and Facebook page.
Photos by Shannon J. Dodge Photography