Click here to view a snapshot video of the 2017 Mito Energy Walk & 5K!
Members of both the Massachusetts Maritime men’s soccer and men’s lacrosse teams joined together on September 17th to raise monies and awareness during the 13th Annual MitoAction Energy Walk & 5K presented by Stealth BioTherapeutics that took place at DCR’s Mother’s Rest in South Boston. Nearly $82,000 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.
Nearly 80 current and former Buccaneer student-athletes participated in the race, which was won by men’s soccer freshman Ben Paine (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth) in a time of just over 20 minutes. Paine and his teammates once again supported “Team Thomas” in honor of their fellow teammate Thomas Schmid of Marshfield, while the Buccaneer men’s lacrosse squad ran in support of “McGowan’s Mito Laxers” and their teammate, Teddy McGowan of Forestdale.
Thomas, who is 10 years old, and Teddy, who is now 17, 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 $2,500 during this year’s Mito Energy Walk, while McGowan’s Mito Laxers were just as successful in raising $1,200. 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.
“This event is one of the most special days of the year, as the opportunity to give back to Thomas and the entire Schmid family is something that all of us in the program cherish,” Massachusetts Maritime Head Men’s Soccer Coach Greg Perry said. “Seeing the boundless joy that Thomas and Teddy have and share with everyone in the community serves as a great reminder as to what is most important in life—family.”
“Being part of the Mito Energy Walk and having the chance to help others is something that is so important to all us,” Buccaneer senior men’s lacrosse standout Nicholas Zaia (West Newbury, Mass./Pentucket Regional) said. “Teddy has been such a big part of our lives and our program, and giving back to him is something we gladly repay at every opportunity for the lasting gifts he has provided to us.”
For more information on the incredible work being done by MitoAction, please visit www.MitoAction.org.
(Photos courtesy Adam Schmid, Abby Schmid & Nicholas Zaia)