Fund-raising trail ride raises more than $15,000

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 27, 2006

DEMOPOLIS &8212; This past weekend, horse riders from around Demopolis gathered to celebrate Will Freeman&8217;s fifth birthday and raise money for the Mitochondria Foundation.

Will was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy in December, 2003.

The disease in one of more than 200 inherited diseases of metabolism that are known to affect mitochondria.

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Mitochondrial diseases affect the body&8217;s ability to turn food into energy to support life. There is a wide range of health issues, such as a weak heart, seizures, failing kidneys and respiratory complications. The mitochondria are the power plants in almost every cell of the human body.

More than one in 4,000 children born in the United States each year will develop a mitochondrial disease by ten years of age.

Because mitochondrial diseases are currently under recognized, the actual number may be more like one in 2,000. Some affected children may not survive beyond their teenage years.

According to studies, defects in mitochondrial function have been now linked to diseases of aging such as Parkinson&8217;s disease, Alzheimer&8217;s disease, Heart Disease and cancer.

There was over $15,000 raised for the research of mitochondrial disease on this trail ride.

Will rode in a wagon with his mother and friends.

According to Freeman, Dr. Isaac Espy, principal of Demopolis High School, walked and jogged the entire 13 miles of the trail ride.