A Brentwood family hopes to bring awareness to a relatively unknown condition on the silver screen.Michael and Ellen Hollis have a rambunctious 3-year-old named Hunt.Hunt, however, isn't like most 3-year-olds. He has mitochondrial disease.Mitochondria are responsible for creating the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. Mitochondrial disease is a genetic disorder where the mitochondria fail to produce enough energy for cell or organ function. Commonly referred to as "mito," the disease primarily affects children and can cause several physical and developmental problems.Hunt was diagnosed with "mito" in February 2011. "When Hunt was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, we had never heard of that before and we didn't know what that meant," said Ellen. Shortly after diagnosis, the Hollis family was approached by University of Alabama film student Shelby Hadden. Hadden wanted to spotlight Hunt and his health."If we could do this documentary and raise awareness for mitochondrial disease and educate people about the disease, then it was definitely something we wanted to do," Ellen said.Hadden spent weeks with the Hunt family, chronicling everything."She went to every therapy appointment, doctors visit. She even spent the night with us one night," Ellen recalled."I finished with about 37 hours of footage," Hadden said.The footage became a 36 minute documentary film titled "Not a Statistic."Hadden and the Hunt family hope that by exposing day-to-day living with Mitochondrial Disease, they can help others. "This could be anybody's story that deals with anything that's difficult, but it's just what you do with that situation," said Ellen."Not a Statistic" premieres Thursday night at Franklin Theatre. The screening is sold out.
The trailer for the documentary can be viewed on Vimeo.
To learn more about Mitochondrial Disease, visit the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation Web site.