|MDDA Christmas in July Fundraiser|
When the doctors came to give Zoe and Otto Mitter’s newborn son the heel prick test, the proud new parents barely noticed. They were too busy counting his perfect fingers and toes and marveling over what they had created.
“And then the doctors told us they had to speak to us,” Zoe said. “Our minds were racing. We’d agreed to the test because we wanted to make sure we were giving Cayden the absolute best start in life, just a precaution. One little prick of a needle to put any niggling fears to rest. “You don’t expect them to come back and tell you they’d found something.” What the doctors found was Cayden had a rare, genetic, metabolic dietary disorder called Phenylketonuria or PKU.
In the simplest of terms, Cayden’s body was unable to produce the enzyme, which broke down protein. Without proper treatment and a special diet, sufferers of PKU run the risk of brain damage and intellectual disability as the amino acid found in most foods builds up in their blood and tissues. “We had no idea what they were talking about,” Zoe said.
“One minute we were laughing about what he was going to be when he grew up and the next the doctors were telling us about special diets, starting with a special milk formula and regular blood tests. “The doctors did their best but with this being such a rare disorder, it was really hard for us to talk to people about it. No one in our family or our friend’s circle had even heard of PKU, let alone knew how to help. Then we were put in touch with the Metabolic Dietary Disorders Association and a support network instantly surrounded us. Suddenly, we didn’t feel like the only family in the world going through this.”
Staffed by volunteers, MDDA is a self-help, not-for-profit support group which was established in 1996. It offers invaluable advice, help and support for families with metabolic disorders, including PKU. The government-funding shortfall to this organisation is vast and with a growing population, MDDA struggles to provide its vital service to the increasing number of families who find themselves in need of MDDAs support.
In light of this, MDDA is holding a Christmas in July fundraiser at the Bazaar Restaurant QT on the Gold Coast. Winners of the 2012 Music Oz award for best urban release, The Winnie Coopers jumped at the chance to be involved in such a cause. “I'm a teacher at Music Industry College and I see kids having to overcome hurdles on a daily basis. I am also a father of three children and realise how important our children's health is, especially to their families who care for them. I jumped at the chance to support this cause. Although I am not an expert, PKU is a very rare condition with some serious repercussions if not treated correctly. The MDDA is a support network to help families get funding, counseling, treatment and raise awareness worldwide for families dealing with PKU. Sometimes we don't need to know everything about a issue- we just need to put our hand up to help." Says Charlie Thomson AKA The Educator from the Winnie Coopers.
From midday, guests will be treated to an array of Australia’s best musical talent, including Deep Dreamer, Respect Music’s finest DJs, James Canning and Andrea Tenille and Australian Idol finalist, Casey Barnes. All artists have donated their time to what they consider an extremely important and worthwhile cause.
Donated items from the Good Guys at Robina, Australian Skin Clinics, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Gold Coast Suns will be put to auction.
“We have met families who have more than one child with a metabolic disorder,” Zoe said. ”The amount of work which goes in to ensuring just one child is getting all the nutrients they need, that each of his meals is safe, is amazing. It’s almost a full time job in its self,” Zoe said.
“To know there are Australian families who have to do this for two or even three children, it is just mind blowing. If we didn’t have MDDA, if we didn’t have them there to call on for information, or even just a sympathetic ear from time to time…I don’t know what we’d do. I know that Cayden and plenty of other kids like him wouldn’t have as bright a future ahead of them. MDDA really do save lives.”
What: Metabolic Dietary Disorders Association Christmas in July Fundraiser.
When: 21st July from noon.
Where: Bazaar Restaurant QT Gold Coast
Who: Deep Dreamer (Nu Jazz Flamenco lounge duo), James Canning and Andrea Tenielle (Respect Musics finest DJs), Casey Barnes (Australian Idol finalist) and more.
Why: To raise money for MDDA, which provides information, support and advice to Australian families with children with a metabolic disorder, which needs special diets and treatments to prevent brain damage and intellectual disabilities.
Cost: $90 per head or $80 for a table of 10 or more
Contact: Zoe Mitter 0423 237 376
Available for interview: Zoe Mitter 0423 237 376, Otto Mitter 0438 359 171 (Bass player for the Winnie Coopers),
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