Miracles for Mito was started in the corridors of The Children’s Hospital Colorado by parents whose families were impacted by mitochondrial disease. Today, Miracles for Mito is an established nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting other families in the Rocky Mountain Region who have been diagnosed or have a suspected mitochondrial disease.

Maria Hopfgarten


Maria wants to experience the day when there is a cure for mitochondrial disease. Until then, she will continue fighting for mitochondrial research and support families living with mitochondrial disease.  

Maria lost her son Jacob to mitochondrial disease three years ago. Despite Jacob being very medically complex he lived for ten beautiful years. He fought every day to breathe, live, and spread happiness. He never uttered a word in his life, but he inspired more people than most of us will ever do. 


Outside of Miracles for Mito, Maria is actively involved with Children’s Hospital Colorado. She is today a respected Parent Partner and an active Board Member of the Patient Safety Committee of the Board. When Maria is not thinking Mito she loves spending time with her family and friends, drinking coffee, keeping active, and traveling.


Our mission is to educate the community about mitochondrial disease, provide support and resources to families affected by mitochondrial disease and provide opportunities and funding to transition research into treatments.

Heather Schichtel

Executive Director

The fight to raise awareness, support research and drug development for mitochondrial disease is very personal to Heather. A POLG-1 mutation impacting mitochondrial function was passed down to her two children; Jack and Samantha. Her brother also inherited the mutation and developed an adult-onset mitochondrial disease at age 36.


Heather lost both of her kiddos to this disease. She continues to fight for them and for her brother; working with Stealth Biotherapeutics to impact drug development and partnering with our doctors at Children’s to access care for both children and adults impacted by this disease. 


She’s a marketing professional when not fighting for a cure; advising other nonprofits on fundraising strategies and donor outreach.

Heather and Judi.jpg

Melanie Kelloff

Program Manager


MaryBeth Hollinger RN, MSN

Family Education and Support