The Sandra K. Russell Derby Day Benefit, a Kentucky Derby-themed event with a live broadcast of the May 7 race, will raise funds for MitoAction, a nonprofit working to advocate and educate on behalf of the people and families affected by mitochondrial diseases.
According to a press release, the benefit features entertainment, live and silent auctions, food and cocktails, and contests for the best bow tie and best ladies’ hat. The Saturday event runs from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m at the Mandarin Oriental Boston, and is sponsored by healthcare-oriented companies and groups, including Stealth Biotherapeutics, Reata Pharmaceuticals, Courtagen Life Sciences Inc., Acton Pharmacy, Lilly Pulitzer, and In The Pink. Eighty-eight percent of all funds raised will go directly to MitoAction to support its programs.
Derby Day tickets start at $200 per person and climb to $1,200 per couple for those registering as Jockey Club members. Tickets are available through the organization’s website.
MitoAction works to create a community of support to improve the lives of people with mitochondrial disease, their families and caregivers, and to raise awareness about these pathologies. It also engages with the pharmaceutical industry in its efforts to develop therapeutic agents to treat mitochondrial diseases.
The organization sponsors a number of annual events, including MitoAction Energy Walk & 5K and the Mitochondrial Disease Clinical Conference, to raise awareness and funding, and to promote the sharing of relevant studies and treatment approaches by the research community and disease clinicians.
Mitochondrial diseases result from failures in the normal function of the mitochondria, cell organelles responsible for the creation of more than 90 percent of the energy necessary for correct body function. Mitochondrial dysfunction results in the impaired generation of energy inside cells, ultimately leading to cell injury and possibly cell death. Mitochondrial diseases, which can develop at birth or later in life, are the result of inherited or spontaneous mutations in the mitochondrial DNA, leading to chronic illnesses that can cause physical, developmental, and cognitive disabilities. According to MitoAction, mitochondrial disease affects 1 in 4,000 individuals in the United States.