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What is Mito?

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Friends & Family,

As many of you have come to know over the years, our niece, Ellie Kay Kovalcik, was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease when she was just two years old.  It has been devastating for her.  She has lost the ability to walk, talk, eat, and breathe on her own, yet she somehow retains the wonderful spirit that makes her so special.

This year, we write with some very exciting news.  The research team at the Ohio State University Institute of Mitochondrial Biology, led by Dr. Douglas R. Pfeiffer, has made a tremendous breakthrough in the fight to cure Mito, which I will do my best to explain.  People with Mito suffer progressive deterioration of the body's ability to function because the mitochondria in their cells simply cannot create energy.  This affects every aspect of the body and can lead to the shutdown of entire systems, as Ellie has experienced.  The OSU team, using Ellie's cells, has successfully exploited a phenomenon called the "mitochondrial permeability transition" to inject new DNA into affected mitochondria to restart the engines, so to speak.  In the lab, this has resulted in a five-fold increase in cellular energy production: an increase so large that Ellie's cells now produce more energy than the cells of a normal person!  The results are astounding.  The team is currently in the process of applying for FDA approval to begin human trials, which will likely include Ellie.

Talk of finding a "cure" is oftentimes wishful.  This research, however, is real.  It's happening now and offers us a genuine chance to save Ellie and the thousands of others who are affected by Mito.  This research could also result in breakthroughs in the fight against other mitochondria-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington Disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.  Everyone's support of the Race for Ellie, including our "Yinzers for Ellie" team, has made this research possible. 

Now, more than ever, we are asking for your help.  Please take just a moment to donate online now by clicking here.  Or, if you're able to travel to Columbus for the race, please click here to learn more about our team.  100% of donations to the Race for Ellie go directly to the OSU research study and all are 100% tax-deductible. 

The Race for Ellie will be held on Saturday, June 22, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio.  We cannot convey enough how much your support means to us.  Ellie is a wonderful child, our niece, and we want to do everything we can do to push this vital research forward while there's still time.

In Love and Friendship,

Mike & Kim Feeney
"Yinzers for Ellie" Team Co-Captains

Ellie thanks the Yinzers for Ellie!