$10,000 Raised for Mitochondrial Research at Hope Flies for Friends Event

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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The fundraising event Hope Flies for Friends was recently held for the third time in Jacksonville, raising over $10,000 to help the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine and honor the local residents Lauren Quinn, Caroline Sacco and Stacy Young. The annual event included a wine tasting and included Dr. Wolfdieter Springer, whose research is being supported by the foundation.

The Hope Flies for Friends annual fundraising event gathers donations to benefit the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine, which in turn funds treatment-oriented research and awareness. The investigations being conducted by Springer from the Department of Neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville are among them, as the researcher is addressing a mitochondrial-targeted therapeutic approach to Parkinson’s disease.

“We were delighted to host this event and to help support research funds for mitochondrial disease,” stated the event organizers Lisha Wise and Phyllis Bove in a news release from the Foundation of Mitochondrial Medicine. “Honoring Lauren, Stacy and Caroline was important because mitochondrial disease affects as many as 1 in 2,500 people. A cure for mitochondrial disease can have a positive impact on many other diseases, including Autism, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.”

Lauren Quin is a high school senior who was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease four years ago. She was passionate about sports, but the diagnosis caused her to stop playing, due to a lack of energy. The completion of school activities alone leave Lauren exhausted and with muscle weakness, while she is also struggling with memory problems. After graduating from The Bolles School, Lauren is planning to attend Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina on two scholarships.

Stacy, on the other hand, started suffering medical problems when she was only 11 years old, and a year later she was misdiagnosed with mononucleosis. However, several visits to physicians after, the doctors were finally able to understand that she suffered from mitochondrial disease when Stacy was 16. The symptoms progressed and she needed to adapt her daily routines to the disease, as the unpredictability of the disease is one of it main challenges.

Carolina, 10, is the youngest but has suffered with the disease since she was born, experiencing respiratory arrest and developmental problems. However, the diagnosis of mild mitochondrial disease was only made when was six, after visiting numerous doctors and receiving intensive early intervention services.

The organizers of the Hope Flies for Friends event this year believe that the annual effort continues to gain momentum in fundraising and awareness for supporting mitochondrial disease research.