2019 Cure the Cycle Challenge

About Jim Stavas

Firefighters, friends and community gather in respect 
as Jim is laid to rest


On September 20, 1980, Jim and I were married and began our lives together. Over the next few years we adopted three beautiful, healthy, newborn babies - Bradley, Katie and Brenden. We had the perfect family I always dreamed of -- Jim a dedicated firefighter for several years, me a stay-at-home mom, and three awesome children. We enjoyed many outdoor activities as a family. We camped, hiked, and fished just to name a few.

On February 13, 2006 our lives changed forever. Jim went in to have routine sinus surgery and a few days later lay in the hospital in a coma. The surgery had triggered a rare metabolic disease (CPS1 - a urea cycle enzyme defect). Of course we had never heard of this, and unfortunately neither had ANY of the hospital staff. Jim remained in a coma for 3 1/2 weeks. This undiagnosed illness left Jim with severe brain damage. This man who had cared for his family and community all these years was now completely dependent on others as if he were an infant.

As I cared for Jim and learned so much about urea cycle disorders from the Foundation (NUCDF), I realized although Jim had always seemed perfectly healthy, there were definitely signs and symptoms throughout his life that were unrecognized clues that he had the disorder. He often became nauseated and vomited, which we would always mistake for a stomach virus. He became quite ill whenever he would drink high protein shakes for weight lifting. His body surprisingly knew it could not tolerate much protein, so most of his calories came from high fat and sugary foods. He was able to maintain his weight and stay fairly healthy that way. So, looking back I now know Jim’s body always knew something was wrong, but was able to protect itself somehow until it was finally overcome by the urea cycle disorder called CPS1 deficiency.

My family is committed to helping the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation spread awareness so that early detection can save lives. We know that NUCDF is driving research to help prevent brain damage in children and adults with urea cycle disorders. We hope you will join us in support of the Cure the Cycle Challenge and the fight to conquer urea cycle disorders.

~ Carol Stavas, Cure the Cycle Challenge

We are so grateful to the Stavas family for generously sharing their story and for their commitment to saving the lives of others affected by urea cycle disorders. 

"Life, like a mirror, never gives back more than we put into it."
— Anonymous
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