Since Monday night, Government Center in Fall River has ditched the red and blue uplighting and replaced it with a glowing green hue to show solidarity with those who suffer from mitochondrial disease.

What is Mitochondrial Disease?

Mitochondrial disease is an inherited chronic illness that can be present at birth or develop later in life. It can show up and progress in several different ways, whether it’s physical, developmental, or cognitive. From loss of muscle coordination to organ failure, 1 in 4,000 people suffer from "mito," and the worst part is there is no cure. The official website states “there is no way to predict the course of mitochondrial diseases. They might progress quickly or slowly, even over decades, and might also appear stable for years.”

Mitochondrial Awareness Week

From September 20 to the 27, it’s all about spreading mito awareness, and the city hall folks felt the need to lend a helping hand to a cause that needs as much help as it can get. Mitoaction, a Facebook page dedicated to improving the quality of life for the mitochondrial disease patient community through support, education and advocacy, has been busy spreading the word in anticipation of their next walkathon that is virtually coming to Boston.

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Inspiration Strikes to Light Up City Hall for Mitochondrial Disease Awareness

Fall River resident Michael Poulin knows firsthand how hard it is to watch someone suffer from this disease. He lost his sister-in-law last November to the disease, and she was only 38 years old. His wife continues to battle her own diagnosis at the age of 35.

“We were driving over the Braga Bridge one day, and saw the lights on the government building, and my wife came up with the idea to contact them," he said.

Poulin and his family were thrilled to have the city’s support this week.

“It’s been really tough,” Poulin said. “There’s not a lot known about it. There is no cure. We wanted to bring awareness to it because it’s so unknown.”

Energy for Life Walkathon

The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation raises fund each year through different walkathons across the country, and this year, the virtual walkathon will take place on October 3 on its official Facebook Page. Popular funny-man and comedic actor Jack Black is a spokesperson for the foundation and urges people to participate.

Jack Black UMDF PSA from UMDF on Vimeo.

“Every 30 minutes, a baby is born that will develop this disease before they even reach their teenage years,” Black said. “Walk for the children and adults who can’t.”

It is heartwarming to see the city of Fall River make the initiative to show support for a community that the average person may not know about. I can’t be the only one curious about the green lights blanketing the building, and the more people that learn about mitochondrial disease, the better chance this foundation has on reaching financial goals and making the quality of life better for those affected.

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