MARIETTA, Ga. -- Katie Parsons of Marietta has found a gift, and she's sticking to it.
"These are my duck tape wallets," she told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie. "And I just started making bows."
The sixth-grader at Simpson Middle school started Katie's Tape Creations last summer to help raise money for the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine.
"If I'm part of it, and I keep raising money, they might find a cure someday," Katie said. "And it can help so many people."
Katie knows exactly what that means.
She was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease when she was three years old but experienced her first symptom with reflux at eight weeks.
Now 11, she manages the disease with medicine.
"We're lucky that Katie's doing as well as she is with it, but we know things can change," said David Parsons, Katie's dad.
Mitochondrial Disease can damage the cells of the brain, heart, liver, muscles, kidney, endocrine and respiratory systems.
It often goes undiagnosed and can appear anytime.
"They equated it to an antique car," said Debbie Parsons, Katie's mom. "You've got a beautiful car on the outside with parts that are aged on the inside. So when that happens with an older car, you don't know what's going to break down."
Debbie Parsons was recently diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, as well. There is a genetic component to it.
Katie discovered duck tape when she was stuck inside last summer.
Her disease zapped her energy.
"Sometimes it gets frustrating because I want to do everything the other kids can do," she said. "But there's some things I can do that they can't."
She can make frames, earrings, even dresses out of duck tape while making a difference in the search for a cure.
The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine will hold a fundraiser on Friday night. It's called Hope Flies, Catch the Cure.