Hundreds are expected to lace up for the Help Mito Kids 5k Walk/Run in El Dorado Hills Town Center on Saturday, April 22, and there’s plenty of room for more.
Help Mito Kids is a family run organization dedicated to spreading awareness about and raising money for the life-threatening genetic disorder Mitochondrial disease. It was started by a family with three children touched by the disease and the all-volunteer, non-profit organization has grown to include many Oak Ridge High School students from the Interact Club and ASB Student Leadership, who jumped into action after hearing about the family; the students’ Spanish teacher (now retired), El Dorado Hills resident Carol Pomares, is the girls’ grandmother. The Help Mito Kids 5K Walk/Run was started by an Oak Ridge student eight years ago.
Mitochondrial disease can be tricky to understand. Everyone has mitochondria that exist in nearly every cell of their bodies that are responsible for producing 90 percent of the energy needed to function. In someone affected with the disease, the mitochondria do not function properly and fail to convert food and oxygen into life-sustaining energy. The parts that need the energy the most (heart, brain, muscles and lungs) are the most affected. This disease can cause strokes, seizures, gastrointestinal problems, blindness, deafness, muscle failure, heart/kidney/liver problems and failure to thrive, among a multitude of other issues.
Help Mito Kids strives to alleviate the financial burden of families. There are many out-of-pocket medical expenses for affected families as well as the costs of travel to visit the few specialists in the country. All proceeds from the 5K walk/run go to help these families and to aid research at Stanford University.
This year the annual Mito Kids 5K Walk/Run will take place at 9 a.m. on April 22 at the Steven Young Amphitheater in El Dorado Hills Town Center. In addition to the walk/run the event will include kid-friendly entertainment, including nail painting, tattoos, bubbles, music, prizes and many more fun activities, as well as a pre-race warm up. To register (kids 10 and younger participate for free) visit helpmitokids.org.