As Shipley explains, “Mitochondria are in every cell of the body, except our red-blood cells, and they produce the energy to sustain life. Without that energy, the organs don’t function properly, affecting skin, muscles, tissues – everything.” Although there are over 140 types of mitochondrial disease, Ayzac did not match any of the existing criteria. From there, Shipley and her family took part in a research study with the Treatable Intellectual Disability Endeavor to discover which gene was causing Ayzac’s condition. Through this study her family’s blood work were studied for genome sequencing. When the results of the study returned, it was discovered that Ayzac is the only known living child with this specific type of mitochondrial disease. While the study’s results were able to confirm the gene that caused the illness, Shipley was also informed that Ayzac’s illness would eventually be fatal.
Through the complex care she provides for Ayzac she has gained experience with “injections, tube feeds, seizure monitoring and airway management” and has considered going to nursing school. She explains that she wants to work with families like hers so that she can provide empathy for those facing similar situations.
In May, Shipley was nominated by her mother, Lorna Faulkner, in the Walmart Mom of the Year contest. With more than 24,644 candidates nominated, Shipley is now in the top 20. The winner of the competition will win $10,000, $100,000 to donate to charity, a day of relaxation in Toronto and a spot on next year’s selection committee. Shipley says that if she wins, she will donate to Canuck Place Children’s Hospital, which has provided tremendous support for Ayzac. She says she would use the $10,000 to help fund a tribute for her son when the time comes.
To vote for Krystal Shipley in the “Mom of the Year” contest click here.
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