Ski-a-thon celebrates Mitchell’s life

Ski-a-thon celebrates Mitchell’s life

The Daily Advance | October 8, 2011 | By Toby Tate

EURE — This year’s Haley Mitchell Ski-a-thon for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is significant not only in the fact that it’s the last one, but also because it would have been Haley’s 14th birthday.

“It’s tough to be here this year without Haley,” said Valerie Mitchell, Haley’s mother. “Personally I just don’t have it in me to keep doing this big event.”

SMA is a deadly neuromuscular disease that deteriorates the spinal cord cells that control muscular function. Afflicted with SMA since birth, Haley was given only two years to live. She beat the odds, passing away on Oct. 26, 2010, just 2½ weeks after her 13th birthday.

Haley’s father Jeff Mitchell, who was waterskiing at Saturday’s event at Beaver Lake in Gates County, said he was happy with the turnout and the support they have received over the years. To date, the ski-a-thon has raised about $400,000 for Families of SMA, according to Mitchell.

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