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May 1, 2000



Tournament Scheduled for Friday August 4, at Meadows Del Mar;
Padres Pitcher Trevor Hoffman is Honorary Chairman

With the success of the first UCSD Christini Fund Golf Tournament, Debbie Shimizu, founder of the Christini Fund, achieved the goal she set in the memory of her two-year-old daughter. Just three months after last year's highly successful inaugural tournament, UCSD was able to hire a researcher dedicated to finding a cure for mitochondrial disease. The goal of this year's tournament, scheduled for Friday, August, 4 at Meadows Del Mar Golf Course, is to raise funds so that crucial, live-saving research can continue and benefit those affected by mitochondrial disease.

"My hope is that we will get the same heart-warming and very enthusiastic support that we received for last year's tournament," Shimizu said. "Last year, everyone commented on how much fun the tournament was, so my tournament committee is working hard to make sure we offer Christini Fund supporters another fun, high quality tournament. We're very excited about this year's event. Trevor Hoffman, once again, is our honorary chairman, and we think the Meadows Del Mar Golf Course, being one of the newest courses in San Diego, will be a great experience for our golfers. Our tournament theme is again 'Give a Child Hope and Smiles.'"

To raise funds for research, the UCSD Christini Fund was established in the memory of Shimizu's daughter Christine, who at 11 months of age was diagnosed with the most lethal form of mitochondrial disease called Leigh's Syndrome. The disease, which causes damage to critical areas of the brain that control breathing, blood pressure, appetite and coordination, claimed Christini's life shortly after her second birthday.

As a solemn reminder of the urgent need for a cure, a local family recently lost both children, ages nine months and five years old, to Leigh's Syndrome, and mitochondrial disease continues to devastate the lives of countless others. The Christini Fund Committee is dedicating the Second Annual UCSD Christini Fund Golf Tournament to the memory of Lee Jr. and Jacob Lee, sons of Jennifer and Lee DeMeo of Escondido.

"My husband and I watched our sons suffer and finally succumb to this most horrible disease," said DeMeo. "We know first hand the pain mitochondrial disease causes and would like nothing more than to see a cure developed so that other families will not have to give in to this disease. We are praying that the Second Annual UCSD Christini Fund Golf Tournament is a success for the sake of those now suffering from mitochondrial disease."

Proceeds from the Second Annual UCSD Christini Fund Golf Tournament will support research being done at UCSD's Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center (MMDC). The MMDC, established in 1996, is an international referral center that provides diagnosis and life-long treatments for patients with mitochondrial disease.

According to Robert Naviaux, M.D., Ph.D., founder and co-director of the MMDC, "Mitochondrial medicine is a brand new field. Many of the disorders have been recognized only in the past five to 10 years. Because it is so new, and because it cuts across all the medical specialties from pediatrics to geriatrics, new tests and treatments are just now being developed, and many patients will go undiagnosed. Research is essential for progress."

Golfers can participate in the Second Annual UCSD Christini Fund Golf Tournament with a donation of $225 per person, or $750 per foursome. The event includes a day of golf, contests, lunch, gifts, prizes, dinner, opportunity drawings and live and silent auctions. The tournament is a scramble format with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. The Meadows Del Mar Golf Course is located at 5300 Meadows Del Mar, San Diego. For more information, please call Debbie Shimizu at (858) 350-6343 or Phyllis Coleman at (858) 822-1040.

Christini is the family's nickname for Christine.

Contact: Debbie Shimizu (858) 350-6343 Christini Fund, Founder

Kate Deely,(619)543-6163  UCSD Health Sciences Communications