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The Foundation is named for David Campbell, a red-headed, blue eyed little boy. who, at three and a half years old, died from a mitochondrial disease called Leigh's Syndrome.

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Facts about Mitochondrial Disease


April 8, 2006 - The 2006 Humanitarian Award was presented to Wish Upon a Cure ® Co-Founder Cathy Campbell by the University of Maryland Alumni Association at its black-tie gala on the College Park, Md. campus. CoFounder Dan Campbell, their son, Danny, along with family and friends, were on hand to receive this distinguished award on behalf of the foundation.2006

The award is presented annually to an alumna of the University of Maryland, College Park for providing extraordinary service for the benefit of others, Very special thanks goes to Dr. Drury Bagwell, a long-time friend and mentor, for nominating the Campbell 's for this significant award and helping raise the awareness level of mitochondrial disease.

Thanks to our many generous supporters, we have established the nation’s first clinical Fellowship in Mitochondrial Medicine! Mary J. Hall Willis, M.D., Ph.D., joined the esteemed team of specialists at the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center (MMDC) at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Dr. Willis began her Fellowship on July 1, 2005 – appropriately, the fourth anniversary of David Campbell’s death. Truly, in this case, there is a direct connection of good coming from tragedy.

There is a shortage of specialists in mitochondrial medicine, and the Fellowship that Dr. Willis is holding helps recruit young doctors willing to take an interest in this specialty. Dr. Willis’s training will revolve around three critical areas of need.

First, Dr. Willis will be attending to patients at the Clinic in San Diego. This has an immediate impact on the families, as there is a six month wait for an appointment. Adding Dr. Willis to the team increases the number of patients who can be seen, and thus decreases that waiting period for so many families.

Second, Dr. Willis will work by the side of the team in the MMDC’s laboratory, learning to analyze samples of patients from all over the United States who are suffering with symptoms compatible to mitochondrial diseases. Dr. Willis will learn to diagnose diseases occurring in those patients.

Third, Dr. Willis will undertake her own original research project in mitochondrial medicine. This is an exciting element to the Fellowship, as all new research contributes to the body of knowledge and helps in determining better treatments for those who suffer.

Quarterly reports charting Dr. Willis’ progress will be posted on our website over the next two years of the David P. Campbell Memorial Fellowship in Mitochondrial Medicine.

In addition to establishing the nation’s first-ever clinical Fellow in Mitochondrial Medicine, Wish Upon a Cure® continued its outreach efforts and was featured:

On the cover of The Quill, a collegiate and alumni magazine for Alpha Xi Delta National Fraternity. Wish Upon a Cure® was included in the Spring 2005 issue focusing on special needs children.
COAST Magazine of Newport Beach, Calif. also featured Wish Upon a Cure® in its May 2005 feature, “The Village People,” a story about Orange County moms who are building a place for all children. The Wish Upon a Cure® Young Donors’ Club had their picture included with the story!

Research grants totaling $35,000 were awarded to Robert K. Naviaux, M.D., Ph.D. of the UCSD School of Medicine and co-director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center (MMDC). Dr. Naviaux continued his important work in developing treatments for emerging mitochondrial disorders.

Also, we continued raising awareness of mitochondrial disease through national outreach efforts and local fundraisers in both San Diego and Orange County.

We raised over $60,000 in pledged and in-hand donations at Wish Upon a Cure® Breakfast events in San Diego in May and in Orange County in October. Other donations were generated through activities led by members of the Young Donors Club and the annual appeal campaign that was mailed to interested households across the nation.

We furthered our efforts to establish the very first clinical Fellowship in Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease in the United States. We raised over $80,000 in pledged donations at our first Wish Upon a Cure breakfast in October 2003.

We began a twice-yearly newsletter to keep everyone informed about our efforts, as well as the efforts of the physicians we support. They are beginning to make significant advances, and we want to share the hope that they bring.

We continued our highly successful national direct mail program in November 2003.

Additionally, the David P. Campbell Foundation was selected as the recipient charity of the Southern California ATA Taekwondo Regional Tournament, on November 8, 2003.

We also continued our tradition of honoring what would have been David’s 6th birthday with a Wish Upon a Cure‘ Celebration event on Saturday, November 15, 2003.

In 2002, we officially formed the David P. Campbell Foundation for Pediatric Mitochondrial Disease (with the help of the Orange County Community Foundation), and our fundraising efforts in 2002 totaled $75,000.

Other families joined in the cause to fight mitochondrial disease, and their family and friends have become generous supporters.
Over 50 volunteers regularly gave of their time to David’s charity, and over a thousand more stepped forward to contribute to the battle.
Raising funds at this grass-roots level is essential if mitochondrial diseases are to be cured. These diseases do not currently attract the levels of funding that would otherwise drive research efforts.

Our donors helped support a research scientist in the Mitochondrial Disease Laboratory as he worked on developing three new assays (tests) of mitochondrial activity. The funds also provided biochemical supplies. All three assays were completed by Fall 2002 and are currently being used in identifying mitochondrial activity in children and adults in the U.S.

If you are interested in learning more, or would like to become involved, please contact us with our Contact Form.