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Menkes disease is a devastating genetic copper deficiency. The Menkes gene is carried on the X-chromosome and so the defect is passed from mother to son. Affected boys cannot properly absorb copper and the copper is not correctly distributed around the body. The brain is severely affected by copper deficiency, and this leads to death of the affected boys usually by three years of age. Treatment with copper salts or complexes has only limited success. Professor Julian Mercer's research laboratory in the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Australia, is currently working on improving treatment for this fatal disease.
Kaishi Akizuki was born on May 8th 2001 in Saga city (Japan), to an Australian mother and Japanese father. He was a beautiful, blue-eyed, baby who seemed to be developing normally. It was not until December 2001 at the age of 7 months that he was diagnosed with Menkes Disease, a rare congenital disorder that affects only male children. From January 2002 Kaishi's condition deteriorated rapidly as the disease took hold and he eventually passed away in August 2004, three months after his 3rd birthday.Kaishi fought and endured through so much during his brief life and will be remembered for his beautiful smiles and incredible courage. Kaishi's family and friends have established this memorial fund to support the research being undertaken by Deakin University into this tragic disease, in the hope of discovering ways of improving the quality of life for Menkes' boys and their families. Being such a rare disease, funds for Menkes disease are limited. The establishment of this fund in memory of Kaishi honours all Menkes boys - past, present and future.