Man runs marathon in effort to find cure to rare disease

Man runs marathon in effort to find cure to rare disease (Image 1)

A Nashville man is preparing to run the Music City Marathon on Saturday while helping raise awareness to a rare disease that affects his son and friend.

Mike Hollis will run the upcoming marathon while pushing 30-year-old Andy Garrison in a special needs buggy.

Garrison is confined to a wheelchair and cannot participate on his own because of Mitochondrial Disease, a disease that affects his body's ability to produce energy.

Hollis has been participating in endurance events with Garrison since July 2012.

“We are trying to prove to the public that mito kids can move, mito families can move for something or for themselves,” explained Hollis.

The pair met at a Mitochondrial support group and teamed up together to help raise awareness about Mitochondrial Disease which currently does not have a cure.

He hopes when people see him pushing Garrison they will ask questions.

“A lot of kids are diagnosed with autism and various other kinds of diseases and we want mito to be one of the top of mind issues that come up. If they do catch it early there is a good opportunity they will have a better quality of life,” Hollis explained.

Hollis told Nashville's News 2 his three-year-old son Hunt, who also suffers from the disease, is his inspiration.

“A lot of people have a lot of different symptoms. It can be physical disabilities and in some cases mental.”

Hunt was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease when he was 16-months-old after a year of tests and countless doctor visits.

“In our case with our son he's got developmental delays, he's got some physical delays but if caught early enough you can treat it with therapies, medications, things like that.”

Hollis and his wife Ellen plan to find a cure for Mitochondrial Disease and continue to spread awareness and hope.

Hollis and Garrison are running for Team Hunt & Andy to raise awareness about the disease.

For more information, visit their Facebook page or

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