Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

April 27, 2011

Trottin’ for a cure

By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — A woman from Ute in western Iowa June 1-14 plans to ride horseback from west to east mostly along Iowa Highway 34 to raise money and awareness for Batten Disease.

Tammy Mohr's "TrottinforTaylor" will start at the Missouri River on Highway 275 with her husband and son along for the first seven days. The plan is to ride north to Highway 34, then east until they reach county road S70 to dip into Melrose, crossing part of Rathbun Lake in Appanoose County then through Plano before reaching Highway 2. Mohr said she will have vehicle back up support the entire way.

"For sure, I will be doing the entire ride," Mohr said, but she has had commitments to ride part of the route from several others.

Mohr said she plans to overnight in Centerville at the Appanoose County Fairgrounds before riding east on Highway 2 to county road J62 to reach the Mississippi River. The route covers approximately 300 miles.

Mohr is making the ride to raise money for research into Infantile and Late Infantile Batten Disease, something her 7-year-old grandson, Taylor Lee Mohr, is diagnosed with.

"The disease comes in one of four forms and in every case is fatal," she said. "Taylor has the Late Infantile form for which there is no cure."

Mohr said her grandson, despite an operation at 10 days of age to correct transposition of the great arteries, developed normally until he reached the age of 2. But in the next six months, Taylor exhibited childhood developmental issues and in late 2007, two years later, his condition worsened.

"He stopped eating, walking, crawling and talking," she said. "One month later, we were given the devastating news that Taylor suffered with incurable Batten Disease."

The family was told Taylor would not live past the age of 12. Taylor was 4 1/2 years of age at the time.

Taylor is now 7 and is bedridden, blind, on a feeding tube and can't walk or talk, Mohr said. He is in constant pain and is on nine different medications to keep him comfortable, she said.

Mohr said all money raised will go to the University of Iowa where Dr. Beverly Davidson is one of the leading scientists in the United States for research into Infantile and Late Infantile Batten Disease.

"So then when I found that out, I'm like the money has to go for research right in here in Iowa," Mohr said. "Because I was really impressed with that being such a rare disease that we had someone right here in Iowa that was researching it."

Donations made payable to the University of Iowa Batten Research, in honor of Taylor Mohr, are tax deductible and should be mailed to the University of Iowa, P.O. 4550, Iowa City, IA 52244 or to Tammy Mohr, 42883 270th St., Ute, IA 51060.

Mohr invites others to join her on the route for an hour, a day or the entire trip. Call University of Iowa at 1-800-648-6973 or Mohr at (712) 885-2535 or (712) 269-1461 for additional information.

And you can follow Mohr and her fundraising and awareness efforts on Facebook by searching trottinfortaylor.