July 27, 2017

Contact: Clifford Gorski
Director of Communications

(Alexandria, VA)   At its annual international mitochondrial disease symposium, Mitochondrial Medicine 2017, the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation recognized four individuals for their efforts to spread awareness about mitochondrial disease.

During the June 30, 2017 banquet, the UMDF honored Carrie Mullin of Pittsgrove, NJ with the prestigious Stanley A. Davis Leadership Award.  The award is presented to a UMDF volunteer leader who exemplifies dedication to the UMDF.   The award was created to honor the organization’s late Board Chairman, Stanley A. Davis.

Mullin and her husband, Eric, have two children, AJ, age 12 and Patrick, who is 9.  Patrick battles mitochondrial disease.  Since 2012, her Energy for Life Walk team, Patrick’s Parade, has raised over $50,000 in the Delaware Valley.  She will chair the walk this fall.  She has coordinated numerous fundraisers and has been a UMDF Northeastern Regional Support Ambassador since 2013.  Since Patrick was diagnosed in 2012, Carrie has made it her personal mission to raise awareness for mitochondrial disease with the hope of finding a cure.

The UMDF Heartstrings Award recognizes a child or teen that has donated or raise funds towards fulfillment of the UMDF mission.  Katherine Chung, 17, from Gaithersburg, MD., wanted to give back to the mitochondrial disease community after her sister, Kristen, passed away in April.  Katherine, her late sister, and their mother, were diagnosed with MELAS.   Katherine made t-shirts last April to honor her sister.  She sold all of them with the proceeds donated to the UMDF.

UMDF presented the LEAP Award to 18 year old Michael Malecha of Northfield, MN.   During a routine physical in 2015, it was discovered that Michael was having some vision problems.  Within five days, Michael was diagnosed with LHON.   He would lose a major portion of his vision within 6 to 8 weeks.

The LEAP Award recognizes a person 14 years and older who lives positively with mitochondrial disease, overcomes daily challenges, and demonstrates a positive attitude while dealing with the challenges of his or her illness.   Michael takes time each month to speak to youth, his peers and adults about his daily challenges.  He serves as a role model for other teens and young adults battling mitochondrial disease.  In August of 2016, his vision returned to 20/20. Physicians don’t know if his vision will stay, but Michael lives his life not taking his eyesight for granted.

The UMDF Energy Award was presented to Liz Kennerley.  The Solebury, PA native is on a mission of cure mitochondrial disease.   She is sure the best way that she can help find a cure is by sharing her story with members of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill.   Liz has battled mitochondrial disease her entire life.   She is a remarkable young woman who has worked to put together mitochondrial disease educational platforms at various conferences, congressional briefings, and other advocacy meetings.

The UMDF Energy Award recognizes an individual who embodies the spirit of the UMDF mission, which is to promote research and education for the diagnosis, treatment and cure of mitochondrial disorders and to provide support to affected individuals and families.

UMDF congratulates those who received awards and offers our grateful thanks to all they do to advance awareness about mitochondrial disease and dysfunction.


mitochondrial diseases result from the failure of the mitochondria, which are located in the cells of our bodies. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed to sustain life and support growth. When mitochondria fail, less energy is produced causing cell injury or cell death. On a larger scale, organ systems begin to fail. The disease is often debilitating. In some cases, it may result in death. Adult onset is becoming more and more common. There is no cure for mitochondrial disease.


Founded in 1996, the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) works to promote research and education for the diagnosis, treatment and cure of mitochondrial diseases and to provide support for affected individuals and families. Since its inception, the UMDF has funded nearly $12 million in research, making it the leading non-governmental contributor of grants focused solely on mitochondrial disease.  For more information about mitochondrial disease or the UMDF, visit