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Energy For Life fund-raiser planned with Cooper in mind

September 21, 2010
For parents like Jobie and Jay Groves of Sugar Grove, the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) Energy For Life Walk-a-thon is a glimmer of hope. Jobie and Jay’s son, 4-year-old Cooper, was diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy and the family faces many hurdles in coping with his condition. As a proactive measure, Jobie has taken the reigns of coordinating a local edition of the Energy For Life Walk-a-thon to be held Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Sugar Grove AMVETS, 3838 Stoney Run. Participants can choose either a 5K or a one-mile walk with registration beginning at 9 a.m. and the walk starting at 10:30 a.m. A chicken barbeque will also be held from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. “It’s important to raise money for the UMDF because there is no known treatment or cure at this time. It’s also important to raise awareness of the disease because most people have never heard of it before,” Jobie said. According to the UMDF, mitochondria are often called the “powerhouse” of the cell and are specialized compartments which are responsible for producing 90 percent of the energy needed by the body to sustain life. Mitochondria combine oxygen from the air with calories from food to produce energy. Mitochondrial diseases result when there is a defect that reduces the ability of the mitochondria to produce energy. As the mitochondria fails to produce enough energy, the cell will not function properly and possibly die. In Cooper’s case, the disease affects his muscles. Cooper requires help for everything. He can’t hold his head up and is not able to reach out for things. He is also deaf in both ears, but has a cochlear implant for one ear. The UMDF reports that at least one in 200 individuals in the general public have a mitochondrial DNA mutation that may lead to disease. Further research would offer hope to everyone suffering from this debilitating and often fatal disease and provide a broad range of new approaches to attempt to treat the disease. “This is the first Energy For Life Walk for Warren County. It is actually the first round of walks like this for the foundation. They just started this standard walk set-up that has been done around the U.S.,” Jobie said. She hopes to raise $10,000 through the local event for the UMDF. Jobie and her family and friends have raised money for the foundation before with the hopes of finding a “cure for Cooper.” “We, as a family, have done a few other fundraisers for the UMDF. Valley Bowling in Youngsville did an adult, youth tournament last winter to raise money for the UMDF, along with a Chinese auction. We spent a night at Stateline Speedway a few weeks ago and tried to raise awareness of the disease and gain donations for the walk,” she said. “Our oldest son, Nolan, raised funds through a bake sale this summer that we put toward the walk. We’ve had a garage sale and put all the earnings to the walk.” Interested participants can register online at Donations and sponsorships can also be submitted through the website. So far, more than 70 walker are signed up for the event. “I really hope that there are a lot of people that are going to show up the day of the walk to show their support,” Jobie said. “But overall, I’m pleased with the turn out so far.”

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Cooper Groves



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