Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week

Next week, the Van Gogh painting will be lit up green for Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week, September 15th – 21st.  This Awareness Week is celebrated globally to educate and increase awareness about mitochondrial disease.

Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole organ systems begin to fail. The parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, muscles and lungs, requiring the greatest amounts of energy are the most affected.  Mitochondrial disease is difficult to diagnose, because it affects each individual differently. Symptoms can include seizures, strokes, severe developmental delays, inability to walk, talk, see, and digest food combined with a host of other complications. If three or more organ systems are involved, mitochondrial disease should be suspected. Although mitochondrial disease primarily affects children, adult onset is becoming more common.

Here are ways you can raise awareness:

*Head down to the Van Gogh and take a photo! Share your pictures and information about the campaign on social media using #lightupformito

*Install a green light bulb outside your home and/or workplace and share the photo on social media using the hashtags

*Upload a temporary profile picture of a green ribbon to your social media accounts

This awareness week is brought to our attention after losing one of our own Goodland residents to a Mitochondrial Disease. Carson Ely passed away of Alpers Syndrome at 18 months old in January 2018. Alpers Syndrome is a progressive neurologic mitochondrial disease. We are bringing awareness to help children and adults with mitochondrial disease live better and longer lives. For more information or ways to support Mitochondrial Disease research, please visit www.umdf.org.