World Mitochondrial Disease Week took place on 18-24 September. And it’s helped unite the global mito community thanks to you! Here are some of the highlights:

Light Up for Mito

This year we saw a record number of monuments turn green to honour the mito community! Over 320 monuments from Bulgaria, Finland, South Africa, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, UK, Italy, North Macedonia, Spain, England, France, USA, Australia, Japan and Sweden lit up to raise awareness of mito.

75 buildings lit up across Australia including Luna Park in Melbourne, the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour and Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Thank you to everyone who approached their local landmarks to light up for mito. Let’s work towards setting a new record next year!

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Community Involvement

Mito community members found some unique and inspiring ways to get involved this year.

Laura Barker, mito community member and Mito Foundation staff member, took on a zipline challenge on the Matagarup Bridge in Perth, Western Australia, ziplining while the bridge was lit up in green! She said: “Being part of World Mitochondrial Disease Week makes me proud to be part of such an awesome community. Seeing the world light up green during #lightupformito sparks conversation and I was able to tell other zipliners all about mito and me. I would love to see more community members being involved in #lightupformito 2023!”

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On 25 September, residents from the Queensland town of Ayr gathered in Plantation Park to raise awareness of mito and funds for the Mito Foundation. Ayr Market Day was the brainchild of Hayley Spencer, who lost her newborn daughter Alayah to mito in April 2022.

At least 70 stalls were involved, selling goods like plants, candles, body and bath products, dog treats, personalised jewelry and much more. There were also play activities for kids, live music and a petting zoo featuring guinea pigs. More than $6,000 was raised for the Mito Foundation.

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Garden Centres Australia joined the action as well, launching a partnership with Mito Foundation. Six garden centres from around Australia lit up in green on 24 September to mark Light Up For Mito. Garden Centres Australia also shared mito facts on their social media pages.

We thank the many individuals, families and groups who joined the global mito movement in one way or another during September.

Mito Foundation Awards

World Mitochondrial Disease Week is the perfect time to recognise exceptional individuals who tirelessly campaign for meaningful change.

Their passion has contributed to raising funds for ground-breaking research, educating the public about mito, advocating for health system changes and serving as a pillar of support for the community.

This year, we had a diversity of nominations including mito community members, medical professionals, researchers and volunteers. All of them demonstrate the power of a community that bands together to enrich the lives of those they care about.

You can see all the winners here.

LHON Awareness Day

On 19 September, International Mito Patients (IMP) hosted a live online event for the Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) community.

Dr Raymond Wong from Australia shared an update on his innovative research that uses cell reprogramming and stem cell technologies to study and work towards a treatment for retinal degenerative diseases.

Dr Krister Inde from Sweden, who has LHON himself, shared about the mental process of grief and acceptance of vision loss and the importance of rehabilitation. It was a great session with many LHON patients joining from around the world to share and learn from each other’s lived experiences. If you missed it, you can catch up on the webinar here.

Light Up for Mito eCards

Three animated eCard designs were available this year – a lighthouse, back garden and cityscape edition. eCards are a way to shine the light on mito and brighten someone’s day, and be part of the global mito movement without leaving your home. We had dozens of eCards exchanged this year. To send an eCard, you can check out the link here.