COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 300 into law June 17, among other bills, making September officially Mitochondrial Disease Awareness in Ohio, in honor of a 16-year-old advocate from Greenville, Corynna Strawser, who, unfortunately, didn’t live long enough to witness the extent of her legacy, which Kristi and Sean Strawser, Corynna’s parents, are keeping alive on her behalf.
“Corynna knew she wasn’t going to be cured, but now, I think she’s getting what she would have wanted because she was fighting for everyone else who suffers from mitochondrial disease,” Kristi said. “Our fight for Corynna’s legacy and for mitochondrial disease is now statewide, and I feel like our community has grown. Though we’re grieving Corynna, we’re stronger. Corynna would have been ecstatic to have been a part of this.
“I wish she could have been here, to witness this,” Kristi added. “I wish everyone could have met her personally. We’re just constantly amazed at how people were touched by Corynna and mitochondrial disease; sometimes, there just aren’t words to describe it.”
The Strawser family was able to spend some time with Gov. Kasich, sharing Corynna’s story, Kristi said, and they were encouraged by his response.
“After we told him about mitochondrial disease, and how it took Corynna’s life — being able to put that together, to tell him, this was our child, look at her, she’s gone… He truly agreed that we needed to do more than just a month of awareness, we need to stop it, which is how we feel, too. He’s in a place to be able to do more about that than us; we’re just a family from Darke County,” Kristi said.
Senate Bill 300, also known as the Corynna Strawser Act, designates September as Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Month in Ohio, in honor of Corynna, a 16-year-old Greenville resident who lost her battle with the destructive disease, stated correspondence from Senator Bill Beagle’s (R-Tipp City) office.
Corynna made it her mission to raise awareness and promote research so that others with the disease might have more information and treatment options, Beagle’s office reported.
“Corynna Strawser was compassionate, selfless and ambitious. Her advocacy was nothing short of incredible,” Beagle continued. “It is my hope that the month of September will keep her legacy alive as Ohioans learn more about mitochondrial disease and the research and potential treatments this awareness may promote.”
Strawser struggled with mitochondrial disease for years before losing her battle with it on Dec. 11, 2013. Her parents were in the middle of a “bucket list” vacation in Corynna’s memory, in New Jersey, the week of the signing of Corynna’s act, and drove from New Jersey to Columbus and back, just to be present to see this major milestone in their daughter’s continuing legacy.
“We wouldn’t miss this for our girl and all the other Mito warriors in Ohio… What an honor to have the opportunity to be a witness to Senate Bill 300, the Corynna Strawser Act, become law, and talking to Gov. Kasich about our beautiful daughter and mitochondrial disease,” Kristi posted on the Courage from Corynna Facebook page the day the bill was signed into law.”
Kristi said that the offices of Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) and Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina), as well as Ohio House of Representative members Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) and Richard Adams (R-Troy), did all of the work concerning House Bill 300.
“On behalf of Corynna, our family, and Mito warriors and their families in Ohio, thank you!” Kristi said.