The community is being invited to celebrate the life of King’Nazir Gates, a local 6-year-old that has battled an extremely rare disease, as he takes his “final horse and carriage ride” at 2 p.m. today near Smothers Park.
Gates was diagnosed with an SPTLC2 (serine palmitoyltransferase, long chain base subunit 1) gene mutation when he was 3 years old. His mother Lakeia Nard said Gates was the first boy and the second person globally to receive the diagnosis.
Nard said her son never complained about his diagnosis and continued to push through even when he would lose mobility.
“He made do. He always smiled and he never made a fuss about his condition. He’d just adapt and keep smiling. So we’re trying to keep it positive and celebrate his strength to celebrate who he was instead of mourning,” she said.
Nard said that the idea of a horse-drawn carriage ride came from Gates’ love for animals, specifically horses. The carriage is set to pick them up from their home and travel down Veterans Boulevard past Smother’s Park — his favorite park.
In her son’s honor, Nard started a nonprofit to educate people about different rare illnesses. To learn more about the group, click here.