Andrew Nees is two and half years old. He has a twin sister and two older sisters. He loves playing on the floor with his toys, watches the Mickey Mouse Club House and does an army crawl to get around. He can't walk yet and he is deaf.
The son of Putnam County residents Michael and Jamie Nees, Andrew has been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease. This is a devastating disease that slowly robs its victims of their abilities, even eating and hearing. It cause the most damage to cells of the brain, heart, liver, skeletal muscles, kidney and the endocrine and respiratory systems.
A poker run and benefit for Andrew and the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation is set Saturday.
The motorcycle run will begin at Dixie Chopper Business Center with sign-in at 10:30 a.m. The run takes off at 11 a.m. There will be a bike show at the end or the run. Cost is $20 per individual and $30 per couple fee to ride. Cost to enter the bike show is $10
The benefit features several live bands, food and prizes and begins at 3 p.m. It will continue throughout the night. Prizes for games and lots of items will be auctioned during the event.
During Andrew's first year he showed no sign of the disease. He was small for his age but appeared healthy. Just before Thanksgiving 2005 he was sent to Riley Hospital for Children for blood tests. The hospital called on Thanksgiving day and asked for more tests. Several days later Andrew was diagnosed with the devastating disease.
He returned home with a feeding tube and a special diet along with six medications and vitamin supplements. In July 2006 he was diagnosed as profoundly deaf and currently wears hearing aids. He is scheduled for a cochlear implant in late October.
He is visited by four therapists every week and makes at least one trip to Riley Hospital every month. This past July he developed issues with his calcium levels and now must make the trip to Riley weekly.
Still, his parents say he is a "happy little guy." His twin sister Andrea and older sisters Kelsey, 9, and Michaela, 5, have shown no signs of the disease. They love playing with their brother.
Andrew's grandparent's lifelong Putnam County residents Ron and Rosie Rose and John and Sandy Nees will be at the event supporting their grandchild.
Andrew's mother Jamie Nees is the former director of the Putnam County Red Cross and her husband Michael is the past director of Main Street Greencastle.
Anyone who would like to donate items for the auction or would like information about the event can contact Jessica at 765-721-2565, e-mail jrrose82@ yahoo.com or call Ron Rose at 765-720-4808.