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WISH UPON A CURE® CHARITY FUNDS NATION’S FIRST-EVER CLINICAL FELLOWSHIP IN MITOCHONDRIAL MEDICINE

Local charity raises awareness to help children suffering from little-known and frequently misdiagnosed disease

Fellow will serve patients and ease national clinical shortage

Mission Viejo, Calif. – Sept. 25, 2005 – It was four years to the day since three and a half year old David Campbell of Mission Viejo died in July 2001 of Leigh’s Syndrome, one of 40 types of mitochondrial disease. 

On July 1, 2005, Mary J. Hall Willis, M.D., Ph.D., began seeing patients as the first David P. Campbell Fellow in Mitochondrial Medicine at UCSD School of Medicine in LaJolla, Calif.  “We are thrilled to fund the training and education of another clinician to help alleviate the patient backlog created by a shortage of doctors in this emerging field of medicine,” says Catherine Campbell, founder of the David P. Campbell Foundation for Pediatric Mitochondrial Disease.  Campbell noted that it was four years to the day since her son, three and a half year old David Campbell of Mission Viejo, died in July 2001 of Leigh’s Syndrome, one of 40 types of mitochondrial disease. 

“The Wish Upon a Cure® Foundation was started by friends and neighbors in the Orange County community as a result of our son David’s death,” said Campbell.  “What we’ve learned since then is that approximately 1 in every 2,000 to 3,000 children born each year will suffer from a mitochondrial disease, and it’s nearly as common as childhood cancer.  Because these diseases are within a newly emerging area of medicine, little attention has been paid to further research and treatments.  So we continue our fight, not only on behalf of our son David, but on behalf of the thousands of other children who are fighting for their lives.”

Wish Upon a Cure®, the David P. Campbell Foundation for Pediatric Mitochondrial Disease Research will fund the Fellowship within the Department of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

“We have been amazed and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, and we are thrilled that donors from across the U.S. helped us reach our goal of adding another specialist to the field of mitochondrial medicine.  In just four years we’ve accomplished a major milestone.  We intend to keep on raising awareness about these little-known diseases,” said Campbell.

“We are very grateful for the tireless efforts of a charity like the David P. Campbell Foundation to provide support in attracting young specialists to the field of mitochondrial medicine,” said Richard H. Haas, M.B., B.Chir., M.R.C.P., Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.  “The Fellowship is a wonderful opportunity to train someone who will continue to help patients for many years to come. Since mitochondrial disease has been identified as an underlying factor for both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, training a talented physician such as Dr. Willis will have a tremendous impact on helping many people.”

Dr. Willis will complete a two-year Fellowship under the direction of Dr. Haas.  The two-year training program will include clinical patient care, laboratory training with the analytical equipment and interpretation of results, and a primary research project in mitochondrial medicine.  Following the two-year period (July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2007), Dr. Willis will be board eligible for both the American Board of Medical Genetics and the American Board of Biochemical Genetics.

Wish Upon a Cure®, the David P. Campbell Foundation for Pediatric Mitochondrial Disease, was founded in 2001 following the death that year of David Campbell, a charming three and a half year old little boy from California.  David suffered from Leigh’s Syndrome, one of 40 types of mitochondrial disease.  The foundation exists to fight these diseases on behalf of the children and adults who suffer.  The organization raises awareness and educates others about these little-known diseases that are nearly as common as childhood cancer.  The David P. Campbell Foundation, an all-volunteer organization, is a donor-advised fund of the Orange County Community Foundation (www.oc-cf.org).  Visit www.wishuponacure.org for more information.

CONTACT:  Cathy Campbell, Founder (937) 241-1549

Richard Haas, M.B., B.Chir., M.R.C.P. at UCSD School of Medicine, Dept of Neurosciences (619) 543-2105

 

Wish Upon a Cure®
David P. Campbell Foundation for Pediatric Mitochondrial Disease Research
22621 Pineridge 
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
www.wishuponacure.org