Valencia Choir hosts walk in support of member

Nadia Maciejewski, (center) junior living with mitochondrial disease is joined by Kaylee Brewis (left) and Mia Lucero (right), Co-Presidents of the Valencia High Choir, and dozens of peers who participating in the Mito Walk & Roll to bring awareness of the disease at Valencia High football field, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

A chant for “Nadia! Nadia! Nadia!” could be heard on the Valencia High School track as biodegradable green balloons were released into the air.

Those green balloons represented awareness for mitochondrial disease, or Mito, a very rare disorder that occurs when the mitochondria of the cell fail to produce enough energy to function — a disease that VHS junior and choir member Nadia Maciejewski has.

Nadia Maciejewski, junior at Valencia High School living with the mitochondrial disease, releases dozens of bio-degradable balloons into the air at the Mito Walk & Roll event hosted by the Valencia High Choir, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

Sunday marked VHS Choir’s inaugural Mito Walk & Roll event, held to raise awareness for Mito and support Maciejewski.

“(Nadia’s) been wanting to go to a walk (to support those with Mito), and I know it’s a little hard for her to get all the way down to L.A., so we figured why not do one here and have all (her) friends come and support (her),” senior and choir Co-President Mia Lucero-Garcia said.

After completing a number of laps themselves, the VHS choir performed a variety of songs for their fellow participants.

Valencia High School Jazz Choir sing ‘Embraceable You’ on the schools football field at the Mito Walk & Roll event hosted by the Valencia High Vocal Jazz Ensemble to bring awareness of mitochondrial disease at Valencia High football field, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

“We love to sing together, but more than that, the reason why we’re here today is because Nadia joined our choir and she is a huge part of our family,” Choir Director Christine Mocha said. “We love her so much, and so this is for her.”

The walk not only showed support for Maciejewski, but also allowed choir members to exemplify their mission statement: “Inspire, uplift and cultivate community.”

Nadia Maciejewski, (center) junior living with mitochondrial disease is joined dozens of peers participating in the Mito Walk & Roll event to bring awareness of the disease at Valencia High football field, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

“That’s our goal — it’s not just to make music,” Mocha added. “This is not only to inspire her, but it uplifts us, and there is no bigger community than your friends, especially ones that you make music with and sing with, so we are so grateful that we get to do this together today.”

This is Maciejewski’s third year as a choir member, a group she considers her family.

“It’s just such a great community, and I’ve been completely accepted just for who I am,” she said. “I feel extremely supported, and I’m just so glad that everyone came together and is doing this for me.”

Christine Mocha, Valencia High School Choir Director, conducts the VHS Choir in song as they preform for attendees at the Mito Walk & Roll event to bring awareness to mitochondrial disease Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

Though it’s the first time the choir has hosted this event, both Lucero-Garcia and her Co-President Kaylee Brewis are hoping to make it an annual occurrence.

“It’s been in the making for quite a few months, but it all came together at the last second,” said Brewis, a senior. “It was a pretty big turnout, (and) we’re pretty happy with how it went.”

Proceeds from the walk are expected to go toward MitoAction, a nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of life for those affected by the disease, and VHS choir.

A sign reads ‘Do It For Nadia’ hangs off the bleachers states the motivation behind the Mito Walk & Roll event hosted by Valencia High Choir to benefit Nadia Maciejewski, junior lving with the disease, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

Cameron Smith, performer with the Valencia High School Vocal Jazz Ensemble sings at the Mito Walk & Roll event hosted by VHS Choir to benefit a fellow student Nadia Maciejewski, who is living with mitochondrial disease, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

Advertisement

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS