I DON’T KNOW MUCH, BUT THIS THING I KNOW

My wife and I spoke to the student body of Riverton High School (in Utah) who has chosen Mitchell’s Journey as the charity they’re going to support this December. Natalie, who doesn’t enjoy public speaking, bravely shared her heart-felt gratitude to these remarkable students for the good they’re about to do. I admire this woman more than she knows. She is stronger than I am. Braver than I could hope to be. Every single day, she makes me a better me.

Speaking to this group of students was humbling. There were two assemblies back-to-back: each time the auditorium was filled to capacity with students anxious to support a good cause. There was a spirit of goodness in that High School; one I will not soon forget. I remember what it was like to be in high school – and I don’t remember anything like what I witnessed. This is a new generation of youth anxious to be about a cause bigger than themselves. They are noble, hungry to help, and filled with compassion.

For the next 18 days these students will sacrifice their time and energy during the holiday season to hold a variety of fundraising activities aimed at helping Mitchell’s Journey. Their student body president, Hannah Kartchner, reminded the students “Remember, it’s not about the money, it’s about the change.” At least to me, her words carried deep and profound meaning. She reminded me of the principle that it isn’t enough to go through the motions, but rather to let those motions go through us and change us from the inside out. This high school is enlightened because they know in the very act of giving they receive. They know that when they give from the heart, their hearts change for the better.

When it was my turn to speak, I felt as though I were already among friends … kindred souls who just want to help. I shared with the students what Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy does to children and its catastrophic outcomes; I then outlined how we plan to support PPMD, MDA and some local families with the money we raise. Finally, I shifted attention to the story of my little boy’s life and death. There were times it was hard to keep my composure. I miss Mitch and sometimes it is difficult to talk about him without getting emotional. He wanted so much to live … yet here I am, very much alive and hurting to have him back in my arms. I vowed the day I lost him, and I vow again today, to make his life and loss matter. I promised my fallen son to not waste another day of my life. Instead I promised to offer my heart and meager talents in the service of others. 

Mitchell’s Journey is not only about reflections on the past, it’s about the future, too. To take grief and sorrow and see what good it can do. I don’t know much, but this thing I know: when we enlist serve others our hearts will change and they will surely grow.

TOGETHER WE CAN DO MORE

Today we had an opportunity to visit with the President and CEO of Associated General Contractors of Utah along with some of his leadership team. Having been touched by Mitchell’s Journey, he and his board of directors offered a generous financial donation to help us meet our goals to serve local DMD families. Their CEO (standing next to Natalie) attended our Miles for Mitchell 5K and demonstrated strong support and deep compassion. 

So, today we discussed some families we aim to help. We couldn't be more excited to work with AGC of Utah to make a difference in the lives of others. Stay tuned. We’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks and months. 

To the generous leadership of Associated General Contractors of Utah, thank you. Your logo speaks of skill, integrity, and responsibility … you are all of that and so much more. 

I admit, tears have come easily today: not of sorrow, but gratitude.

PLAYING WITH PURPOSE

Mitchell's two brothers Ethan & Wyatt have their last lacrosse games today. Mitchell always enjoyed watching them play and often said how he wished he had the physical strength to participate in sports. 

The Herriman lacrosse council dedicated this year to Mitchell's Journey and are donating some of the proceeds to PPMD. Every team in our city wears jerseys that say "Playing With Purpose" next to a muscular dystrophy ribbon. They also wear "Mitchell's Journey" helmet stickers. We were humbled to see hundreds of kids wearing uniforms that remember our son.

We were moved to tears by the lacrosse council's efforts to honor our fallen son ... to show these young athletes a greater type of teamwork that transcends the sport and points to a deeper purpose. 

No matter how these Herriman teams may have ranked this year, they won the greater game. And thanks to the thoughtful actions of these leaders, these young boys walk off the field better athletes and more importantly better people.

MITCHELL'S JOURNEY FOUNDATION

After Herriman City Council read their proclamation and voted in the affirmative to dedicate his birthday as the "Mitchell Jones Day" I addressed the council and said the following:

"We are grateful to the Herriman City Council, especially Mayor Mills, who have graciously recognized our son, Mitchell and what his unique and difficult journey has meant to so many people.

Because Mitchell’s Journey has had a global reach and touched people on a very personal level, we have decided to start a foundation called Mitchell’s Journey wherein we will better organize our efforts to help raise awareness for Muscular Dystrophy, partner with the Parent Project MD, and offer help and support to others who face similar struggles. 

Mitchell’s Journey has put in motion conversations in the medical community [on a national level] that we’re told will change the landscape of cardiac care for children who have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This is no small thing. And we are grateful that Mitchell’s Journey has become a catalyst for progress.

Mitchell’s Journey has become more than a beacon for Muscular Dystrophy awareness, it has also served as a human spark … awakening in tens of thousands of people across the world a renewed commitment to faith, family and humanity. This was something we never anticipated. Mitchell’s Journey has become a source of inspiration for people across all walks of life. 

In fact, the majority of followers are not afflicted with any disability at all. This reality sugests there are often more than broken bodies that need mending. On some level, we are all broken ... and perhaps through Mitchell’s Journey people are finding meaning and purpose with their own struggles. For this we are grateful.

On Saturday April 27th, two days before Mitchell’s Birthday, we will have our first organized fundraiser. Details for that event will be announced to the media, through our Facebook page and other mediums. 

In the meantime, we are deeply grateful for the support we’ve received so far and hope to pay that goodness forward and bless the lives of others through Mitchell's Journey.

Thank you."