A message from our CEO

Thursday, 9 April 2020
Sean Murray
Sean Murray
CEO, Mito Foundation

The Mito Foundation continues to diligently monitor the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, paying particular attention to the impact this has on people with mitochondrial disease (mito).
We recognise that many members of the mito community are part of the at-risk population due to chronic health conditions and compromised immune systems. We are adapting our information and support offerings to ensure the best possible outcomes for the mito community.
On advice from our Scientific and Medical Advisory Panel, we regularly update our information on COVID-19 and mitochondrial disease – the latest information can be found here.

The foundation’s Helpline, Mito Connect Program, Patient Pathways Program, and other support services are busier than ever and we are constantly providing additional support services to meet those needs.  Team members have been redeployed to provide those services.

We are relentlessly continuing to progress the campaign to legalise mitochondrial donation.  The NHMRC report has been delivered to the Health Minister and it is now time for the government to do its job and commence legislative change to make this technique available to at-risk Australians.

With a large proportion of the Mito Foundation’s income derived from our Bloody Long Walk events, we are very aware that the current social distancing measures pose a significant risk to income in the short to medium term.  The event team has hustled to defer events to later in the year to maximise their chance of proceeding.  We’ve also identified many ways we can adapt our events in order to comply with social distancing constraints.  Whatever happens, we know everyone will be up for a Bloody Long Walk on the other side of this and we’ll be ready to go.

We’ve brought forward our annual Stay in Bed Day event to 22 May keeping in spirit with us all being couped up at home.  I encourage everyone to get into bed with us (albeit virtually) to mark the occasion!

With this deferral of our walks, we, like so many others, immediately experienced a sharp downturn in income.  While the foundation has always operated based on lean expenditure principles, we’re now more conscious than ever that every dollar saved is equivalent to a dollar received.  We took immediate action to further curtail our costs and adapt the way we work including across all aspects of the business – our events, operations, staffing and programs. We have plans in place to adapt if and when various scenarios develop.

We’re conscious that through this crisis, the Mito Foundation is playing a crucial role in providing connection for members of the mito community and we will continue to do so throughout this crisis.

We’re also very conscious that most Australians have been personally impacted by this crisis and assure you that our stewardship of every dollar donated now, is more prudent than ever before.

With the strong governance of our board of directors and various sub-committees, expert advice from our Scientific and Medical Advisory Panel and Mito Community Advisory Panel, coupled with the tireless commitment of our volunteers and dedicated team, the foundation is well positioned to weather this storm.

Please contact me directly on 0422 819 975 or by email at sean.murray@mito.org.au with any questions about the foundation’s response at this time, or with any suggestions you may have.

Sean Murray
Chief Executive Officer