Members of both the Massachusetts Maritime men’s soccer and men’s lacrosse teams joined together on September 18th to raise monies and awareness during the 2016 MitoAction 5K that took place at DCR’s Mother’s Rest in South Boston. Over $100,000 was raised at the event in support of continuing research in the battle against mitochondrial disease, an inherited chronic illness that can be present at birth or develop later in life and afflicts about 1 in every 4,000 people.
Over 40 current and former Buccaneer student-athletes participated in the race, which was won by men’s soccer senior tri-captain Matthew McDonough (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) in a time of just over 20 minutes. McDonough and his teammates supported “Team Thomas” in honor of their fellow teammate Thomas Schmid of Marshfield, while the Buccaneer men’s lacrosse squad ran in support of “Teddy’s Troops” and their teammate, Teddy McGowan of Forestdale.
Thomas, who is nine years old, and Teddy, who is now 16, joined the Massachusetts Maritime athletic family through the Department of Athletics’ on-going partnership with Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization based in Quincy that partners with colleges and universities across the country to improve the quality of life for children facing adverse issues and events by establishing and expanding vibrant, team-based support networks. Teddy has been a part of the lacrosse program since 2012, while Thomas joined his soccer teammates in 2014. The Schmids have a direct connection to the Academy, as Thomas’s father Adam, a lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard, graduated from Massachusetts Maritime in 1999.
Team Thomas raised over $3,000 during this year’s MitoWalk, while Teddy’s Troops were just as successful in raising over $2,300. All proceeds for this year’s event once again went to support the work of MitoAction, a Boston-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children, adults, and families living with mitochondrial disease through support, education, outreach, advocacy, and clinical research initiatives.
“Mito” is an inherited chronic illness that can be present at birth or develop later in life. It causes debilitating physical, developmental, and cognitive disabilities with symptoms including poor growth; loss of muscle coordination; muscle weakness and pain; seizures; vision and/or hearing loss; gastrointestinal issues; learning disabilities; and heart, liver, or kidney failure. About 1 in 4,000 people has Mito. It’s progressive and there is no cure. Teddy McGowan was diagnosed at the age of three with the disease, while Thomas Schmid’s diagnosis came when he was four years old.
“There isn’t a more important day on our calendars each year than this one, because it’s an opportunity to give back to Thomas for all that he and the entire Schmid family have done for us,” Massachusetts Maritime Head Men’s Soccer Coach Greg Perry said. “Seeing Thomas and Teddy together provides the proper perspective on what is most important in life—family. And they are, and always will be, part of our Buccaneer family.”
“To say that it has been a privilege to have Teddy be a part of our family over the past four years would be a huge understatement,” Buccaneer Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Rory Deegan added. “We are all so grateful to the McGowans for allowing us to be a part of his life, because we are truly thankful each and every day that he is a part of ours.”
For more information on the incredible work being done by MitoAction, please visit www.MitoAction.org.
(Photo courtesy of Adam and Abby Schmid, portions of this release courtesy of Mito Action)