Newcastle’s Long Walk towards vital research on MITO.

On Sunday, 11 October, walkers from across Newcastle will strap on their sneakers and take the challenge to walk 35km as part of The Bloody Long Walk to raise vital funds for mitochondrial disease.

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

Participants will walk for over 7 hours, nearly 47 000 steps, starting Belmont then walking the beautiful Fernleigh Track, along Throsby Creek, Lee Wharf and Honeysuckle Drive.

They will then walk through the city then head up to Merewether taking in stunning views of the Pacific Ocean to join Yuelarbah Track and Newcastle Memorial Walk before finishing next to the white sands of Newcastle Beach.

Mito Foundation CEO, Sean Murray, said the event is part of a nationwide initiative which supports families touched by mito and that this was a COVID-safe event.

I want to assure participants that this event will follow stringent COVID-safe protocols and will be in complete compliance with local government health advice,” Mr Murray said.

Our detailed COVID-safe event plan has been approved by NSW Health and we have the City of Newcastle as a supporting partner.

The mito community is a high-risk population, with reduced immunity and particularly susceptible to diseases like COVID-19, so they really need our help now more than ever.

The truth is every week in Australia one child will develop a life-threatening form of mito – that’s 50 Aussie kids a year. Yet most people have no idea that the disease exists.

All money raised from today will help ramp up our support services for mito families, which is needed now more than ever as we navigate the COVID health crisis,” he said.

Kotara South resident Peter Bowen’s wife Jennifer and three adult children all suffer from mito.

It’s incredibly difficult when four out of five people in our family suffers from mito,” Mr Bowen said.

Mito has been part of our family’s lives for a very long time, but we get through the ups and downs together.

I’ll be doing the Newcastle Bloody Long Walk with my daughters Elle and Abby and son Max to raise money but also to raise awareness about this condition that impacts so many Australians.”

Member for Shortland, Pat Conroy, who will be opening the Newcastle Bloody Long Walk this Sunday, said he was pleased the community could rally behind such a worthy cause.

I am so proud of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie community for coming together for this important cause in a safe and responsible way,” Mr Conroy said.

People suffering with mito in our region and elsewhere deserve the acknowledgement from their communities.

The more money we raise, the more families we can help who are affected by this devastating disease.”

For more information about The Bloody Long Walk, to share your support, or contribute a donation, visit www.bloodylongwalk.com.au