‘We are blessed by support and generosity’ When Sandy and Steve Peterson’s son Mitchell was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) in 1999, they wondered where they could turn for support. They reached out to another family who also had a son diagnosed with DMD and through them made a connection with Parent Project MD (PPMD). “Sandy and I were introduced to PPMD in the very earliest stage of Mitchell’s diagnosis. During those early stages we were very confused and had little information on what we should do, what specialists we needed to see, and knowing the best care we could provide for Mitchell,” recalled Mitchell’s dad Steve. “Parent Project MD offered to us a complete education and a road map to follow in caring for our son. They are an amazing recourse for parents and families of boys with Duchenne MD.” “Our ultimate objective of Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford [MRTR] is to find a cure for Duchenne MD,” added Steve. “MRTR is working to raise funding and raise awareness of DMD. When celebrities like the Green Bay Packers’ Clay Mathews, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, and the NCAA Coaches for a Cure become involved, it’s amazing how the level of awareness increases. Awareness increases 10 fold. At a local level, MRTR has created a high of awareness of DMD in West Michigan. I believe awareness creates personal and community interest, community interest creates funding, funding will ultimately lead to a cure.” Those within the Rockford community are becoming more familiar with PPMD from the efforts of the Peterson family and their 5K race named Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford 5K Run/Walk and Kids for Kids K. All proceeds from this race are donated to PPMD in Mitchell’s name. This year’s event is set for Saturday, August 18, at 8:30a.m. “This will be our 14th year,” said Sandy. “The truth is, our family and all the families affected by DMD are blessed with the amazing generosity of all of the people who have participated, volunteered and supported Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford over the years.” To register or volunteer for the event, visit their website at mitchellsrun.org.
Tournament gets $5,000 boost from AT&T The Volley for Mitchell 4-on-4 Charity Volleyball Tournament kicks off its sixth year August 11 thanks to event underwriter AT&T. Volley for Mitchell has raised more than $50,000 to fund research in the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Today, returning event sponsor AT&T presented $5,000 during a short ceremony at the Score Restaurant, the unofficial home of Volley for Mitchell. Ruth Gauddard of AT&T presented the Mitchell family with a $5,000 check for this year’s charity volleyball tournament. “The Volley for Mitchell tournament is a great event in support of a very important cause, battling Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy,” said Jim Murray, president of AT&T Michigan. “It is a wonderful example of the kind of community involvement that really works to make a difference in Michigan and for kids in our state, and we at AT&T are proud to be able to be a part of it.” “When we packed up the nets after last year’s tournament, Volley for Mitchell had brought in a little over $45,000 in our first five years,” said Jeff Hartnagel, tournament co-director. “AT&T’s continued commitment and generous gift raises that number to more than $50,000, and the first serve hasn’t even been hit.” In the years since friends Jeff Hartnagel, Peter MacGregor and Bill Jackson sat around a bonfire in Hartnagel’s backyard, Volley for Mitchell has become a late summer West Michigan tradition. This year, the tournament expects to host more than 40 teams from all over the area. All proceeds from Volley for Mitchell go to Parent Project MD in its ongoing search to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is the most devastating of the dystrophies diagnosed during childhood. To date, there is no cure. The 2012 Volley for Mitchell tournament is once again headquartered at the Score Restaurant & Sports Bar, 5301 Northland Drive NE, Grand Rapids, which has donated the use of its courts since 2008. To accommodate the large numbers of anticipated participants, play will also take place on the sand volleyball fields located at North Rockford Middle School, courtesy of Rockford Public Schools. “The Score has been a great supporter over the years,” said co-director Peter MacGregor. “Being able to hold the tournament at such a setting […]
Each year, Mitchell Peterson’s parents, Steve and Sandy, are amazed at the support they receive from the community. Over 100 volunteers help to make the race run smoothly and to bring awareness and money to be donated to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), a national nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by parents of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Mitchell’s Run thru Rockford has more than doubled in size and scope since the Petersons established it in 1999. Since then, the event has raised over $600,000, all donated to PPMD in the name of their son Mitchell Peterson, 16, of Rockford. “After our son was diagnosed, my wife and I wanted to make a difference,” explained Steve Peterson. “We’re thrilled this race has helped to raise awareness and support, at least in our neck of the woods. More people now know about Duchenne MD, which is important because this disease can happen in any family and currently affects many boys and their families here in West Michigan.” This year’s event, sponsored by Wolverine World Wide and Meijer, takes place on Saturday, August 18 at 8:30 a.m. The Kids for Kids K starts at 9:30 a.m. This is a competitive race but also a family event featuring a silent auction during and awards ceremony following the race. For more race details, visit www.mitchellsrun.org. PPMD is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by parents of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne MD is the most common lethal genetic disorder diagnosed during early childhood, affecting approximately one out of every 3,500 boys and 20,000 babies born each year. The organization’s mission is to improve the treatment, quality of life and long-term outlook for all individuals affected by Duchenne through research, advocacy, education and compassion. PPMD is the largest grassroots organization in the U.S. entirely focused on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It is headquartered in Middletown, Ohio with offices in Fort Lee, New Jersey. For more information, visit www.parentprojectmd.org.
Photos by TOM SCOTT It was another phenomenal year for Mitchell’s Run thru Rockford held Saturday, Aug. 20. More than an amazing fundraiser in the fight to find a cure for Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy, the event is in honor of Mitchell Peterson and other boys with Duchennes and a way to raise awareness of the need to find a cure. Over $61,000 was raised for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. Top racers in the 5K walk/run were Alex Wilson with a time of 15:14 in the men’s division, and in women’s Jennifer Adams finished at 17:31. Close behind in the men’s division were Drake Veitenheimer (15:20), Spencer Gerber (15:33), Drew Woznick (15:36), and Josh Miller (15:43). In the women’s division were Devon John (18:17), Taylor Manett (18:24), Kaitlin Diemer (18:41), and Holliann Willekes (19:31).
Stroll along beautiful downtown Rockford with a live band and deejay, and place bids in a silent auction with items including a Nintendo Wii, MSU/Michigan game tickets, a 32GB iPod Touch, a Trek Pure Sport Cruiser bike, or a one-week condo stay in Los Cabos, Mexico, and many local merchant gift certificates as part of the fun of the 13th annual Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford this Saturday, August 20. Twelve hundred runners are already booked to take to the streets and the White Pine Trail as part of the route for the annual race to raise awareness and funds to fight Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy. Named after Mitchell Peterson, who, along with fellow Rockford students Alec Lundy and Tyler Fehnesfeld, has Duchennes, the race has inspired other events geared toward the same cause, including Volley 4 Mitchell, Classmates for a Cure, Strides for a Cure, and Mitch Madness. To date, well over half a million dollars has been raised for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. It isn’t too late to sign up for the 5K run/walk that has become a signature event for Rockford. According to Sandy Peterson, Mitch’s mom, the 150 volunteers and multiple sponsors are responsible for the success of the well-run race. She also attributes the generosity of Rockford merchants and the help of the city. She is always quick to point out that the race is more about educating the public on the importance of finding a cure for Duchennes, although the amount of money raised for muscular dystrophy research is impressive. Runners and walkers can sign up at Mitchellsrun.org to register online or can sign up prior to the 8:30 a.m. race Saturday. The silent auction takes place before, during and after the race and ends at 10 a.m. Watch for runners on the team Classmates for a Cure, who have their own t-shirts and are donating money to the Rockford Education Foundation. “Maybe one of these kids will grow up to be a scientist and will find a cure,” said Sandy.