It has been stated that one in 4,000 children will develop a mitochondrial disease by the age of 10 years old (mitoaction.org). My child is the one in 4,000. There is no cure for this disease and most who hear of it have the same response, “What’s mitochondrial disease?” Payton’s Race for a Cure is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support advocacy, awareness and ultimately a cure for mitochondrial disease. On October 1, 2011, the third annual Payton’s Race for a Cure will take place at Grattan Raceway. We are very pleased to announce that in the previous years we have raised a combined $20,000 for the mitochondrial community. All proceeds were donated to United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (www.UMDF.org) and MitoAction (www.mitoaction.org). Both organizations are extremely committed to the mitochondrial disease community, focusing on support for the individuals, families, awareness and a cure. We pride ourselves on being a family-oriented event that offers something for everyone. This year’s event is very similar to previous years. We will not only have the dirt bike practice, but we have children’s games, bounce houses, face painting, a deejay, raffles, and more. Riders registration begins at 8 a.m., with the first practice starting at 9:30. The fee for riders is $25. All riders will receive an automatic entry into the rider exclusive raffle. This raffle includes many items from valued sponsors such as Fox Powersports, Monster Energy, One Industries, Shift, EVS, Rocky Mountain ATV and many more. In addition, the first 150 registered riders will receive a goodie bag and a Payton’s Race for a Cure t-shirt. All other activities will begin at 11 a.m. For more information, visit www.paytonsraceforacure.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/paytonsraceforacure.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL What follows is a story we’d like to do in depth but quite simply are lacking in words (maybe a first). The prologue to this story has already been written by one far more accomplished than ourselves. We refer you to a story written by Tom Rademacher in the Nov. 7, 2010 edition of the Grand Rapids Press—from www.mlive.com—that leads off with the rhetorical question: Where do I start? It is the story of a Rockford family, the McGees, living in the eye of a firestorm of adversity. It is a story of love and selfless devotion to one another in the face of unimaginable tragedies of health and ensuing circumstances. Kelly and Sarah McGee and their two sons, Luke, 9, and Evan, 7, reside in a quiet neighborhood on Rockford’s west side. Both boys suffer from a mitochondrial disease of the brain, the youngest most seriously. There is no cure. Both parents—who, between themselves, work four jobs to stay financially afloat—have a multitude of health issues of their own. Sarah deals with ever-painful fibromyalgia on a daily basis. Kelly is dealing with a second round of skin cancer, suffers recurring kidney stones, and has recently recovered from surgery for a hernia caused by having to constantly lift his son, Evan, from place to place within their home. In spite of all this and more, they persevere and say they are blessed beyond measure. Needless to say when every waking hour is spent either on the job or caring for their two boys, the upkeep of their home’s interior has had to take a backseat. Both the kitchen and the home’s main bathroom were almost nonfunctional and in need of serious attention. In addition, the front porch and its stairway also needed life support. When Luke’s Valley View Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Megan McCall became aware of the plight of the family, she and other teachers spearheaded a series of fundraisers to help the McGees financially. She also reached out to area charities for any assistance they might be able to provide. “Aside from the fundraisers, nothing much really happened until the Tom Rademacher column appeared in the Press,” said McCall. “Then the ball really started to roll.” So it […]