A Rare Collection – Rare Disease Storytelling with Kyle Bryant, Jennifer Siedman, Liz Morris and Ashley Fortney Point

Once Upon A Gene

A Rare Collection – Rare Disease Storytelling with Kyle Bryant, Jennifer Siedman, Liz Morris and Ashley Fortney Point

September 16, 2021

A Rare Collection – Rare Disease Storytelling with Kyle Bryant, Jennifer Siedman, Liz Morris and Ashley Fortney Point


A Rare Collection- Because of You with Kyle Bryant, Jennifer Siedman, Liz Morris, and Ashley Fortney Point

There’s power in storytelling- for the listener and the storyteller. A Rare Collection is a monthly series featuring people from the rare disease community, sharing a story with a common theme. Kyle Bryant, Jennifer Sideman, Liz Morris, and Ashley Fortney Point share stories of rare disease.


Kyle Bryant, Living with Friedreich’s Ataxia

Kyle was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia at age 17. It’s a disease that affects balance and coordination and has symptoms of scoliosis, vision loss, hearing loss and life-shortening heart complications. At the time he was diagnosed, he ignored that his future would be much different than what he’d imagined. After a few years, he wanted to take a cross-country bike ride. Kyle reads a page from his book about how he convinced his parents to join him.

Jennifer Siedman, Mother to Ben

Jennifer loved a little boy with a rare disease called Sanfilippo Syndrome. That boy graced this Earth for 17 years with a big lion roar of a laugh and a gentle heart. He loved farms, tractors, baseball and chocolate donuts. His quiet determination convinced a researcher to pursue a treatment and because of it, there are other children today with Sanfilippo Syndrome who’s future might look different than his. Jennifer knows who she is today because she was Ben’s mother. Jennifer shares a story of her mother-in-law who, through her own determination, modeled the skills she would need to be the best mother and advocate she could be to Ben. 

Liz Morris, Mother to Colson

The Pacific Northwest is abundantly beautiful. Seattle’s true appeal is in it’s wild spaces. Carkeek Park in northern Seattle is one of Liz’s favorites with organic healing powers she needs. Trails lead through the lush woods, there’s an expansive shoreline with built-in driftwood seating and open green hills overlooking the sea and mountains. Liz and her husband sat on the beach at Carkeek Park on a hazy August evening in 2016 and talked of their future. They talked of the future they wanted for their future child, which Liz was six months pregnant with. Colson was born in October 2016. He was impacted by mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder that compromised his body’s ability to turn food into energy. Liz shares a story of living with enough.

Ashley Fortney, Mother to Davis

In 2014, Ashley welcomed her son Davis into the world after a difficult pregnancy filled with many hospitalizations and much worry. From the start, the doctors thought there might be something different about Davis. Davis was diagnosed with Koolen-de Vries syndrome at age 7, but he’s continued to grow, learn and prove that nothing can stop him. Ashley shares all the ways that Davis has helped the family grow and find support from others in the community and all the ways he makes the world a better place.



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