Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Dee Bryson
Gazette Columnist 

My Favorite Recipes: Meet Crystal Davidson

 

August 16, 2018 | View PDF

Crystal Davidson and Race Davidson.

Crystal Davidson with son, Race Davidson.

Crystal Davidson was born and raised in Moscow, Idaho. In 1993, Crystal met and married her husband, Shane, who grew up in Colfax. They are the parents of three children, Sam, Race and Molly.

The family currently resides in St John and deeply appreciates the welcoming, friendly community. Parenting has brought the Davidsons a lot of joy as well as some unique challenges. Race, 18 years old, was born with a rare genetic mutation, called Champ 1. For the first 16 years of Race's life, he stumped the medical community and was undiagnosed. At the age of 16, the Davidsons were relieved to finally get a diagnosis for Race. He was the 16th in the world to be diagnosed with Champ 1 gene mutation. He is the only known case in the Pacific Northwest and is one of about 33 that have been diagnosed worldwide.

In Crystal's own words, "Race was born on schedule, but had difficulties breathing after birth. He was flown to Oregon Health Science University in Portland and stayed there for six weeks while a lot of testing was done. All the doctors told us was that they know something is wrong, but not sure what. When we left the hospital we were told, 'Your baby will be a special needs person, but to what extent we can't tell you.'"

Race couldn't eat normally and was fed through a tube for two months.

"Once he figured out how to eat though, he just took off and never looked back," Davidson said.

They took him to doctors in Portland, Seattle and Spokane for all types of tests, therapies and treatments. He was ill a lot of the time with gastrointestinal issues. At times, he was in and out of the hospital almost every other week. They researched every symptom and every condition they could find searching for answers.

"When people would ask what he had, we would just say, 'Race is Race.'" When he was 15, he started having seizures and his neurologist wanted more genetic testing. They were shocked when they called to say he tested positive for something. The geneticist was even more shocked when Crystal said, "Yes!" with excitement.

Champ 1 gene mutation causes developmental delay, low muscle tone, severe speech impairment and seizures. Race is mostly non-communicative. He uses a mixture of sign language, pointing and a talking device called Accent 1000 to tell people what he wants.

There's a private Facebook group where parents share information almost daily. "Being connected to other families with similar difficulties has helped us so much!"

Crystal will tell you that the road has not always been easy. There have been many challenges including a 41-mile drive, each way to school in Pullman because that school district can offer the most services for Race. While it is a long drive, the Davidsons try to make the most of it and Crystal said she has learned "not to sweat the small stuff and find humor in everything."

Crystal also expressed that she wished that there were more services and programs available to families with special needs throughout Whitman County. If you are a special needs family and would like to connect with Crystal, please contact her davidsoncrystl @gmail.com.

To learn more about Champ 1, go to https://www.champ1gene .com/

Recipes

Tony Noodles

My brother, Tony, visited and made this for us. It is now a family favorite.

1 lb. Penne Noodles

1 lb. Italian sausage, ground

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups kale, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

6 oz. can black olives, broken into pieces

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Boil the noodles until al dente and set aside. In a large skillet, brown the sausage on medium heat. Add the olive oil and chopped garlic to the meat. Stir thoroughly and allow to cook for one minute to lightly brown the garlic. Mix in the tomato halves, kale and black olives. Turn the heat down to low and place a lid on the skillet. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted. Mix in the cheese and replace the lid for another five minutes. I serve this with a Caesar salad.

Blackberry Yogurt Pie

Great treat for hot summer evenings

1 chocolate graham cracker pie crust

1 cup blackberries

2 6 oz. containers Tillamook vanilla bean yogurt

1 8 oz. container Cool Whip

Smash up the blackberries or, for a smoother texture, run them through a blender. Mix together the berries, yogurt and Cool Whip. Place the mixture into the crust. Put in freezer for at least two hours. Slice and serve with a few fresh blackberries on the side.

 
 

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