For Nina and James Van Harn, fundraising for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital was easy. In just over a week, they raised more than $15,000 to support groundbreaking research led by Gregory Enns, MD, director of the Biochemical Genetics Program at Packard Children’s.
How did they do it? Using PackardPages.org, the couple quickly got word out to family, friends, and local businesses to sponsor their son Bennet’s team for a Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Walk in their hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich.
Bennet, 2, suffers from mitochondrial disease, a progressive and lifethreatening disorder in which his body cannot adequately produce energy. With no known cure for “mito,” Bennet must endure ongoing care and frequent hospital stays. When his parents learned of Enns’ promising work to develop a treatment, they knew they wanted to help.
In September, the Van Harns and other families gathered for the two-mile walk around downtown Grand Rapids. “Our little ‘Get together and just walk’ turned into a really family-friendly, fun-filled occasion!” reports Nina. A local massage therapist even donated her time at the event, and another friend painted fingernails green to celebrate mito awareness.
With help from Packard Pages, the Van Harns’ fundraising efforts were easy and straightforward. They were able to customize emails to quickly contact and thank supporters. “And we love that the funds can go directly to support Dr. Enns,” Nina adds. “His research may make a direct impact on Bennet’s future and that of thousands of other children with mito.”