Over the past few years, the teen/young adult sessions at the UMDF’s Mitochondrial Medicine symposium have become incredibly popular among the younger patients. The sessions feature fun activities, cool courses and an amazing prom. It’s a meeting where members of our teen/young adult community meet people who, in many cases, are just like them. They are able to share their stories, their challenges, and their hope.
Two years ago, when the symposium was in Alexandria, Virginia, Katie Parsons was looking forward to attending another teen/young adult program. It was at that program that the Marietta, Georgia, resident met Asher Gould, who is from Columbus, Ohio. The meeting began an amazing friendship, because they could each share their journey with mitochondrial disease.
After symposium ended, Katie and Asher kept in touch. They speak daily. During recent hospitalizations, they leaned on each other for support comparing symptoms, such as pain or stomach problems, that they wouldn’t talk about with others. They are able to make each other laugh during the hard and boring times in the hospital. Katie and Asher feel comfortable talking to each other about medical issues, because they say they both relate to one another.
Katie and Asher are grateful for the UMDF teen sessions during the symposium. “It is so different here than it is at school, these are my PEEPS,” Katie says.