Corynna Strawser Act awaiting governor’s’s signature

By Heather Meade

June 10, 2014

GREENVILLE - The Corynna Strawser Act, more officially known as Senate Bill 300, has passed through both the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives and is now awaiting the governor’s signature to make September officially Mitochondiral Disease Awareness Month in Ohio.

Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) had contacted the Strawser family to get their approval for an idea that he, Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) and Representative Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) had put together to honor their daughter, Corynna Strawser, who lost her battle with mitochondrial disease in December, said Kristi Strawser.

“A lot of people think that we pursued that bill, and I think it makes it even more special that we didn’t…” Kristi noted. “I think it speaks volumes that she had already touched them in some way. In the time that she was alive, she had a great start on spreading awareness. Our representatives already knew what mitochondrial disease was, and that it had taken her life…I wish I could take the credit, but it’s not me. This is yet another example of Corynna having touched people, of people feeling compelled to carry on her legacy.”

The Strawsers testified before the Senate to “put a family to the disease,” Kristi said, which was a special experience for them.

“It was great to be able to go there, and to make it personal…We’re just normal people from Darke County, who had their lives turned upside down by this disease,” Kristi shared. “…I’m just a mom that has a story, and it’s our story. Corynna was grand, but the things that I did, don’t seem special to me. I thought, ‘This is what every family does, it’s not special.’ You do what you have to do, you’re mom. It’s not special [in your mind]. What Corynna did, that was special.”

Corynna dedicated her too-short life to raising mitochondrial disease awareness; even when she wasn’t feeling well, she made an effort to continue to inform others of what this devastating disease could do, Kristi said.

“Like many in Greenville, I attended several fundraisers to help Corynna’s family, she always had a smile on her face no matter the difficulties she faced,” said Rep. Buchy. “My hope is that Senate Bill 300 will forward Corynna’s goal of increasing awareness of this disease that deserves further research.”

Mitochondrial disease has received minimal research and currently has no cure, Rep. Buchy’s office reported in a press release announcing the bill’s passage. The illness results from the failure of mitochondria, which are present in all cells in the body, except red blood cells. When mitochondria fail, the body cannot create enough energy to survive. Most damage appears to be caused in the cells of the brain, heart, liver, skeletal muscles, kidneys, and endocrine and repertory systems. Symptoms can include loss of motor control, muscle weakness and pain, gastro-intestinal disorders and swallowing difficulties, cardiac disease, liver disease, liver disease, diabetes, respiratory complications, seizures, visual and hearing problems, lactic acidosis, developmental delays, and susceptibility to infection.

To continue their efforts, Kristi said she is always “trying to think of bigger ways to bring Corynna back into the world.”

“I feel like I have to bring her to the whole world, because she didn’t get to go out and do that,” Kristi shared. “This all ties in with what we’re trying to do, which is to have her continue to shine on.”

The family is organizing a family-oriented event to continue to raise money for mitochondrial disease awareness, in the form of a 5K run/walk; this event, Shine on Corynna, will be announced in further detail at a later time, Kristi said. To learn more about Corynna Strawser, visit