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Volunteers make MitoAction events run

The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers. -- Terri Guillemets


Mary Bowler looks forward to the MitoAction Energy Walk & 5K every year.

“The Mito community is so great,” she said. “They’re happy and positive and fun.”

Mary doesn’t have mitochondrial disease. No one in her family has it, either. But every year, she attends the MitoAction walk as a volunteer.

“It’s a really good organization,” she said. “And I’m helping people … what more could you ask for?”

Volunteers are the backbone of MitoAction’s two main events, the Energy Walk and the Sandra K. Russell Derby Day Benefit for Mito. “Our events are truly made possible by the volunteers who show up willing and wanting to work,” said Susan Stover, MitoAction’s Events & Development Director.

“We have so many fantastic people who arrive with a ‘can do’ and ‘how can I help’ attitude,” Stover continued. “I am always so amazed and grateful for the smiles, the helpful suggestions, and the ‘get it done’ mentality our volunteers have!”

As we celebrate MitoAction's Volunteer Appreciation Month, we’ll be featuring some of our amazing helpers.

Mary has volunteered at three walks and two Derby Days, doing whatever is necessary.

“At the end of the day, I feel good for helping people,” Mary said. “Everyone is so grateful.”

Jill Stone has volunteered at two Derby Days and two walks, performing a variety of duties.

“You always leave feeling accomplished for the day,” Jill said. “We always worry about our own needs. It’s good to make another person’s day better and brighter.”

Amy Szeto volunteered at her first walk this year and will be volunteering for many more. To be part of something that has meaning and a goal is very rewarding to this nursing student. “It feels good,” she said, noting that volunteering leaves her wanting to do more. “How else can I make an impact?”

Amy started helping at the 10th anniversary walk before the sun came up and was there until the end. “When we all work together, a lot can happen. That’s what I saw,” she said. The walk site was barebones when they started and grew into an amazing festival-like atmosphere, all through the power of volunteers. “There’s real cohesion,” she said. “I really feel the togetherness.”

Mary got involved with MitoAction through her friend Shawney Lamm, now MitoAction’s Event and Program Manager. When Mary started volunteering, Shawney was a volunteer, too.

Jill got involved because of her company’s president, Paul Harty, and his son, Matthew. Jill is Solutions Delivery Manager for Seven Step Recruiting. Paul is a MitoAction board member. Jill met Matthew, who passed away from mitochondrial disease last year, at a party at Paul’s house. “Matthew was cute and smiley and wanted to sit on the pretty girls’ laps,” Jill recalled. He stole Jill’s heart that night.

Amy got involved through a client. She was the home health aide for a Mito patient and learned about Mito through the client and then her own research. “I know someone whose living with it,” Amy said. So when Amy found out about the walk, she knew she wanted to help.

When Amy told her client about volunteering at the walk, “She was really touched and moved by it,” she said.

Mary and Jill had never heard of mitochondrial disease before they started volunteering.

Mary, a coffee shop manager who lives in Hull, MA, has learned so much about Mito. “Before I volunteered for my first walk, I had no idea what Mito was.”

Said Jill, “It’s just amazing what I’ve learned about Mito.”

Amy continues to learn about Mito and will help spread awareness about it at her nursing school.

“Their passion is what allows our guests to enjoy themselves and feel like they were well taken care of,” said Stover.



To volunteer for the 2015 Derby Day event or the 2015 Energy Walk & 5K, go to VolunteerSpot!