On June 13, more than 65 people showed up to participate in the Cut Out Mito fundraiser at Everything’s Hair in Larchmont, raising both awareness and money for research into mitochodrial disease.
The stylists donated their time, with all proceeds from their work and the event – a total of $4,500 – going to the JDM Fund for Mitochondrial Research. The fund has raised $200,000 since its inception, with the entire sum going to research. Now $4,500 has been added to that amount, thanks to Everything’s Hair and its patrons.
The fundraiser was the brainchild of the co-owners of Everything’s Hair, Dina Mottola and Ginger Pulcino. They wanted to sponsor an event to help their client Gaby Mileti raise money for the charity she founded with her family. Gaby’s son Joey Mileti – at 2 ½ years old – was given 3 months to live when diagnosed with mitochondrial disease. Gaby, her husband Joe and other family members learned that little research was being done to help their son and others so they established the JDM Fund for Mitochondrial Research (a 503c3) to raise awareness of this disease.
This disease is a chronic, genetic disorder that occurs when the mitochondria of the cell fails to produce enough energy for cell or organ function. Mitochodria are tiny organelles found in almost every cell in the body and are considered the powerhouse of the cell – necessary to sustain life. Responsible for more than 90% of cellular energy, failure of mitochondrial function causes cell injury, leading to cell death. When multiple organ cells die, organ failure results. It affects about 1 in 4,000 individuals in the United States.
The symptoms of the disease vary widely and range from poor growth, loss of muscle coordination and neurological problems and seizures, to heart, liver and kidney disease. Joey’s motor function is severely affected, including his walking and coordination. Since there is no approved treatment for the disease, Joey is on a cocktail of vitamins to try to improve the function of the mitochondria and slow the progression of the disease.
“A big thank you goes out to Dina and Ginger for sponsoring this event, and the Everything’s Hair stylists and team who offered their time off to raise money for this cause,” said Gaby Mileti. “When you see so many people volunteering and donating for a cause that gets very little recognition, you feel like there really is hope for a cure.”
People filled the cash donation box. Some walk-ins gave checks to the fund when they were unable to get an appointment with the overbooked stylists. Others dropped off money after the event. In addition to the hair styling, there were raffles and giveaways.
“We really appreciate the other local businesses and people who helped with donations and the raffles so we want to thank: Angelina’s Restaurant, Applause Westchester, Belizzi’s, Elise Glazer of Flower Design, The Nail House, Rita’s Ices, Trader Joe’s, Twinkle Toes, Village Square Bagels. Their participation in the raffles and giveaways made the event even more special,” said Maria Markey, Joey Mileti’s aunt and manager of the fund.
There is still time to donate to the fund. Donations can be sent to:
The JDM Fund for Mitochondrial Research
1333A North Ave. #611
New Rochelle, NY 10804