The Bloody Long Walk kicks off from Tickle Park Coolum

Team Hayden and Jacob

Team Hayden and Jacob, led by Michelle and Brett Paulsen, are taking on their sixth 35km Bloody Long Walk this Sunday 2nd June in memory of their 2 sons lost to mitochondrial disease (mito).

“The Sunshine Coast Bloody Long Walk is something very special for us as we lost our 2 sons, Hayden and Jacob, to this disease. We created Team Hayden and Jacob 6 years ago in memory of our beautiful boys,” Michelle said.

“Jacob was just 3 years old when he passed away. It’s hard to believe that was 10 years ago. Hayden passed away when he was 14. Despite all they endured they both had a great sense of humour and loved life.”

This year the walk will be extra special for the team, as it’s the sixth time they’ve completed the walk and it falls on the sixth anniversary of Hayden’s passing.

“Doing The Bloody Long Walk each year since has helped us keep Hayden and Jacob’s memory alive while also raising awareness and funds for mito. A lot of the paths are places we used to go with our boys, so we reminisce along the way.”

Residents from across the Sunshine Coast and surrounds will walk 35km this Sunday 2 June to raise funds for Mito Foundation.

Sunday marks the latest installment of The Bloody Long Walk in Sunshine Coast, kicking off at 6:30am at Tickle Park, Coolum. The course follows the scenic Sunshine Coast coastline then on to the Maroochy River, through to the picturesque Alex Forest conservation area before finishing at the spectacular Mooloolaba Beach.

Mitochondrial disease (mito) is a debilitating, potentially fatal, genetic disorder that robs the body’s cells of the energy they need to function properly. 

Over 1,000 participants will walk for over 7 hours, clocking up nearly 47,000 steps to raise funds and awareness for Mito Foundation and its goal to end mito. Individuals and teams have already raised $116,000 for the cause. 

Mito Foundation CEO Sean Murray said the event is part of a nationwide initiative supporting families affected by mito.  

“The Paulsen’s story is one of many, as families across Australia face the harsh impact of mito. The reality is that around 70 Aussie kids born in the next year will develop a life-threatening form of mito — that’s one baby born every 6 days. Sadly, most children diagnosed with mito die in the first 5 years of life.” Mr Murray said. 

“Scientific advancements are the most promising they’ve ever been and could significantly improve outcomes for people diagnosed with mito. Our ambition is to prevent as many children as possible from suffering from this life-threatening disease and to reduce the burden of mito on families and the community.” 

Start: Tickle Park, Coolum
Finish: Mooloolaba Beach
Event date: Sunday, 2 June 2024 
Start time: From 6:30am 

For more information about The Bloody Long Walk visit: bloodylongwalk.com.au/sunshine-coast/

A course map can be found here: bloodylongwalk.com.au/sunshine-coast/course/ 

ABOUT MITO FOUNDATION:  

Mito Foundation supports people affected by mitochondrial disease (mito), funds essential research into the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cures of mitochondrial disorders, and increases awareness and education about this devastating disease. 

ABOUT MITOCHONDRIAL DISEASE

Mitochondrial disease is a group of genetic disorders that affect mitochondria which are responsible for producing energy in cells. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed to sustain life and support growth. ln mito, mitochondria cannot efficiently turn sugar and oxygen into energy, which can cause cells to malfunction. This can cause disruption to one or more body organs, potentially leading to organ failure. The disease is debilitating and often terminal.
Mitochondrial disease affects one in 4,300 people. There are no cures and few effective treatments.
Mitochondrial disorders are the most common group of inherited metabolic disorders. There are currently more than 350 different types of mito that have been identified through genetic testing. It is highly complex and can affect anyone at any age.
One child will develop a life-threatening form of mitochondrial disease every week in Australia, which is around 70 kids a year. Most Australian children diagnosed with mitochondrial disease die in the first 5 years of their life.
One in 200 people, or more than 120,000 Australians, have genetic changes that put them at risk of developing mitochondrial disease. We do not yet know how many of these people are symptomatic but undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. They may be experiencing symptoms including dementia (including childhood dementia), diabetes, deafness or seizures during their lifetimes. Some are not yet symptomatic, and some are unknowingly at risk of passing the disease on to their children.
Mitochondrial disease can cause any symptom in any organ at any age.

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