The Mito Community Advisory Panel (MCAP) has been established to improve communication between the Mito Foundation and the mito community. The panel provides feedback regarding services and priorities to invest resources. The foundation will, in turn, use the panel to validate its ideas on the support that may be provided to the community. The panel is actively involved in community events.
Structure of the panel
The panel includes patients, carers and parents across Australia representing the diversity of our mito community and a variety of mitochondrial disorders.
The duties of the panel members are to:
- Act as a representative for the Mito Foundation in their state
- Regularly communicate with members of the mito community
- Participate in bi-monthly panel meetings
- Participate in Mito Foundation events and support activities
- Review and contribute to the development of new service and funding decisions
Members of the MCAP have been selected due to their demonstrated commitment to the vision and mission of Mito Foundation, their close connection to mitochondrial disease either as a patient or carer, and their active involvement in local community events and support groups.
The MCAP members are:
Fiona Elmer - Chair
Fiona Elmer lives in Perth and is a geologist with a research background. Since her eldest child Aidan was diagnosed with mito in October 2014, both Fiona and her husband Dan have been closely involved in the Mito Foundation through events raising awareness of mito and funds for research into treatments and cures.
Now mum to three children, Fiona has plays a vital role in organising support group meetings in Perth and represents the mito community on the Mito Foundation Board. She wants to use her experiences to help others going through similar life events in any way she can. She realises that it can be hard and at times lonely being a parent of a child with a serious health issue and is willing to talk openly about her experiences.
Contact Fiona – 0417 383 940 or email@example.com
Mel showed symptoms of mito for 17 frustrating years before being diagnosed with Chronic Progressive External Ophthalmoplegia (CPEO) in 2011.
She operates her own coaching business and is a motivational speaker where she often speaks about rising above our own self-imposed ‘dis-abilities’ and limitations regardless of personal circumstances.
Mel and her husband Andrew wrote the training program for The Bloody Long Walk and she also enjoys volunteering and participating in the event. In 2016 Mel and Andrew cycled 1,350km unsupported from Hervey Bay (QLD) to Circular Quay, Sydney (NSW) to raise awareness and funds for the Mito Foundation.
Mel understands how frustrating, isolating and misunderstood this condition can be and has found the Mito Foundation support services to be extremely beneficial.
Contact Mel – 0401 940 862 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally from Adelaide, Mia was living in the UK when she was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Myopathy 3302 A>G in 2003. This diagnosis was reconfirmed in Australia in 2014.
Now living back in Adelaide, Mia works part-time and has two primary school aged children. There is an extensive family history of mito, and Mia has shared her story in aid of raising awareness of mito and in support of mitochondrial donation. Mia held the position of MCAP Chair from 2018 -2020, has run the SA support group for Mito Foundation and volunteers on the Patient Support Network. Mia continues to be an active member of the mito community.
Contact Mia – 0408 084 677 or email@example.com
Shelley and her husband James immigrated from South Africa in 2010 to start their lives in Tassie, leaving their family behind. Shelley is a psychologist working in the disability field and specialised behaviour support, having a passion for helping people. In 2016, she was diagnosed with MELAS, having recently lost her mother at age 63 and brother age 34 to mitochondrial disease. She currently has diabetes, bilateral hearing loss, muscle weakness and a heart condition.
Shelley assists where she can to support the Mito Foundation by hosting Mito Wellbeing Connect Calls, helping with World Mitochondrial Disease Week and advocating for legislative change to make mitochondrial donation legal in Australia. She is more than happy to be contacted to talk about her experiences and assist the mito community where possible.
Contact Shelley – 0438 183 111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bec was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease (mito) in 2016, after suffering ongoing symptoms for a number of years. She lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and takes every opportunity she can to raise awareness of mito. This includes her blog “Girl with the Green Bow” that launched in 2017 to track her journey living with mito.
Bec has collaborated with Alice Gibson, owner of Mito Merch and launched her own “Bow collection” range of clothing.
Bec understands how isolating living with mito can be.
Contact Bec – 0419 231 505 or email@example.com
Haydn and his wife Anne have two teenagers Lani, 22 and Damon, 20 and live in Langwarrin, approximately 50kms from Melbourne’s CBD. Haydn is the Metering Contract Manager for South East Water and volunteers on the Langwarrin Junior Football Club committee.
Their daughter Lani was diagnosed approximately eight years ago and has chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO).
Contact Haydn – 0408 103 578 or firstname.lastname@example.org
After many years of seeing various doctors and specialists, Kim was diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy (adPEO with multiple mtDNA deletions) late in 2018. She had been working full time as a Business Manager at a local College on the Sunshine Coast for many years. In 2021, Kim was sad to leave this position due to a decline in her condition.
The year after her diagnosis, Kim showed her support for the mito community by completing 3 Bloody Long Walks back-to-back. Kim continues raising funds and awareness with her family by taking part in subsequent Bloody Long Walks, Virtual Bloody Long Walks & Stay In Bed Days. Kim loves getting outside and spending as much time with her family and friends as possible.
Contact Kim – email@example.com
Laura immigrated from the UK to Perth in 2011. She displayed symptoms at a young age and despite investigation, there was no diagnosis. She experienced worsening ptosis during her teens and early twenties. and eventually visited specialists in Perth who corrected it. However, she was not investigated for the mitochondrial disease until 2016, leading to confirmed sporadic large-scale multiple mtDNA deletions.
Although Laura has worked in healthcare her whole working life she hadn't heard of mito. Mito is unique so it is her mission to increase awareness.
Contact Laura – firstname.lastname@example.org