Eight teams of five people took part in the brand new event “The Big Push for Mito” in memory of Emma Beal who died in September last year from mitochondrial disease.
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The route took the teams over five miles from Calderdale Royal Hospital via Salterhebble to Church Lane Surgery in Brighouse where Emma was a patient.
The date coincided with the launch of Global Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week.
Family of young woman who died from devastating disease carry on her charity mission
“Each team had a wheelchair and took turns to push, or be pushed as feasible,’ said Emma’s Mito Mission charity spokesperson and Emma’s mum, Christine Beal.
“We wanted to raise awareness and funds for mito but also for wheelchair use, invisible disability and accessibility. Emma was an occasional wheelchair user herself and there’s a lot of misunderstanding around that.
“People often think a wheelchair’s not needed if they see someone get up from it, but in fact there are lots of reasons people need a wheelchair apart from difficulties in walking.
“In Emma’s case it was because her heart was extremely weak and her energy levels depleted by the illness.”
Team taking part were from Brighouse Sainsbury’s which has chosen Emma’s Mito Mission as its charity of the year, Craig Whittaker MP’s office, IJM Projects, St Matthew’s Pantomime Society, Temujin’s Restaurant, Emma’s sister and friends’ book club, and Emma’s pilates teacher and her family.
“We also enjoyed fantastic support from Northern Gas Networks, Pat Mulhern Civil Engineering, Wright Angle Marketing, Calderdale Council and from St Martin’s Parish Church in Brighouse who organised a wonderful welcome with refreshments for everyone on their return,” Christine said.
“Our family and friends were fantastic too in rallying teams together, taking part themselves and helping out on the day.
“Participants ranged from an amazing 0 to 86 and everyone had great fun at the same time as raising vital awareness and well over £4,000.
“The teams even collected £81.55 from kind passers-by and motorists, which was a fabulous bonus!”
The charity is planning to make the Big Push for Mito an annual event and offer a longer route as well as the five-mile route next year.
It is welcoming enquiries at any time from teams wishing to take part.
Emma’s Mito Mission is a part of My Mito Mission, whose funds go to support awareness, research and to bridge gaps in support for those affected.
Mitochondrial disease itself affects around one in 4,000 but mitochondrial dysfunction is believed to be linked to many common conditions affecting 10 million people in the UK alone including autism, dementia, some mental health disorders and cancers.
“Research into mito could be the key to unlocking so many other illnesses too,” Christine said.
“Emma was very much involved in setting up our charity and also helped come up with the idea of The Big Push when we were trying to work out what could be a good major event for us.
“It was of course heart-breaking that she wasn’t here to be a part of it as planned.
“However, we are determined to carry the charity forward in her name to help others as a tribute to her courage and kindness. I know she would be delighted at how well her mission is doing and the success of our very first Big Push for Mito.
“Thank you so much to each and everyone who supported it.”