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Life Saved by Changes in How Aortic Dissections Are Diagnosed at Hospital

Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2014, by with Comments Off

Thank you to the Omaha World-Herald for this powerful story of how medical education and process change saved a life.  Thank you, Nebraska Methodist Health System, our TAD Coalition partner, for your efforts to educate your medical team on aortic dissection!  Read the story here.

John Ritter Foundation Selected to Be a Charity Partner of the 2014 TCS NYC Marathon

Posted on Monday, March 10th, 2014, by with Comments Off

The John Ritter Foundation (JRF) announced it was selected as an official charity of the TCS New York City Marathon to take place on Sunday, November 2, 2014.  What a great opportunity to increase awareness of thoracic aortic disease, as well as raise funds to support education and research!

The JRF is currently recruiting runners to join Team Ritter.  For more information or to sponsor the team, please read the announcement on the JRF website.

If you are not a runner but would like to support Team Ritter in another way, please send an email to  Donations to JRF can also be made through the JRF website.

Congratulations, John Ritter Foundation!!

Georgia Man Promotes Importance of Knowing Family History to Prevent Aortic Dissection

Posted on Wednesday, January 29th, 2014, by with Comments Off

Tim Ealer’s father, George, passed away due to complications of an aortic dissection. Since then, Tim has learned that this disease can run in families. He spoke with a reporter about his dad and the importance of screening (aortic imaging) if you have a family history of thoracic aortic aneurysm and/or dissection. Watch the interview here:  Tim Ealer on 41 Today (NBC/WMGT).

Learn more here:  What Is Aortic Disease?

Aortic Disease Support Group Survey

Posted on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013, by with Comments Off

Many people contact the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health and the John Ritter Research Program  looking for support groups.  Unfortunately, very few currently exist. We would like to identify existing groups and facilitate new groups.  If you are interested in finding a support group or know of an existing group, please complete this survey which will be available through December 3, 2013:

The 2013 Team Ritter ING NYC Marathon Team

Posted on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013, by with Comments Off

On November 3, twenty-two Team Ritter runners ran the ING NYC Marathon on behalf of the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health and earned Finisher medals.  Although this was not the first time some of the runners had completed a marathon, it may have been the most meaningful for them.  Why?  Because this race was only one milestone among many during their journey to the marathon.

Over the last five months, Team Ritter’s 2013 ING New York City Marathon running team has informed hundreds of people about thoracic aortic disease by sharing their stories at health fairs, during media interviews, at fundraising events, and by talking to anyone who would listen.  To date, they have raised over $114,000 so we can inform and educate the public and medical professionals about thoracic aortic disease, provide support to individuals and families affected by aortic disease, and fund research.  And they have done all this while training for a marathon!

We are very proud of this team.  Please join us in congratulating Team Ritter on a job well done!


2013 Team Ritter - ING NYC Marathon with Amy Yasbeck, Stella, and Jason Ritter

2013 Team Ritter – ING NYC Marathon with Amy Yasbeck, Stella, and Jason Ritter


Team Ritter NYC Marathon runners raise aortic disease awareness, funds

Posted on Saturday, October 19th, 2013, by with Comments Off

HOUSTON – (Oct. 9, 2013) – Friends and family members of people with thoracic aortic disease and fans of the late legendary comedic actor John Ritter will come together as Team Ritter to raise funds for the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health (JRF) at the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, 2013.

“We are so proud and grateful to again be one of the official charities of this year’s NYC Marathon and have the opportunity to raise much-needed funds for lifesaving research and education,” said actress, writer and aortic health advocate Amy Yasbeck, the widow of Ritter, who died from an acute aortic dissection in 2003. “Team Ritter runners are passionate about increasing awareness of aortic dissection and its risk factors and are committed to raising funds to support the JRF.”

Funds from the NYC Marathon raised for the JRF will go to the John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases (JRRP) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) to support research to identify genetic risks for aortic dissections. To donate, visit Edward Norton’s Crowdrise online fundraising community:

“The funds raised by Team Ritter will allow us to continue our genetic research to identify genes or altered DNA that increases someone’s risk for an acute aortic dissection. By identifying who is at risk, we can prevent premature deaths due to aortic dissections,” said Dianna Milewicz, M.D., Ph.D., director of UTHealth’s John Ritter Research Program. “It will also help us spread information to both physicians and the public about symptoms and genetic risk factors for aortic dissections, including the fact that this condition can run in families.” Milewicz is professor and George H. W. Bush Chair in Cardiovascular Research in the Division of Medical Genetics at the UTHealth Medical School.
Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise
Read more and meet the team:


Show Your Support for Team Ritter and the John Ritter Foundation: Buy an Official Team Ritter Support Crew T-shirt!

Posted on Saturday, September 21st, 2013, by with Comments Off

The Team Ritter 2013 ING NYC Marathon runners are working very hard to increase awareness of aortic disease and raise funds for the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health‘s support and education activities, as well as research to identify the genes which predispose to thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections.  AND they are doing all of this while they train for the marathon to be held on November 3, 2013 – whew!

The runners are selling Official Team Ritter “Support Crew” t-shirts designed by one of the team members.  The shirts are a great way to not only show your support for everything the team is doing, but they are a wonderful way to start a conversation with someone about aortic aneurysms and dissections.  In other words, use them as a tool to promote aortic disease awareness. (more…)

Survivors of Aortic Dissection Support Group Meetings Scheduled in Ridgewood, New Jersey in October and December 2013

Posted on Tuesday, August 13th, 2013, by with Comments Off

It can be difficult to find others to talk to who understand what an aortic dissection survivor has been through.  The John Ritter Research program is pleased to pass along information about future group meetings that a Nurse Practitioner has organized in New Jersey.  (more…)

UTHealth Researchers Link PRKG1 Genetic Mutation to Thoracic Aortic Disease

Posted on Wednesday, August 7th, 2013, by with Comments Off

HOUSTON – (Aug. 7, 2013) – A multi-institutional team led by Dianna Milewicz, M.D., Ph.D., of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has found a recurrent genetic mutation that has been linked to deadly thoracic aortic dissections in family members as young as 17 years of age.

The gene known as PRKG1 makes a protein called cGMP-dependent kinase, type I. The PRKG1 mutation alters the function of the protein and causes the muscle cells in the wall of the aorta to respond incorrectly to pulsatile blood flow from the heart, and the change in this one protein ultimately causes thoracic aortic aneurysm and acute aortic dissection. The mutation was identified in four families, including three in the United States. The majority of the affected family members suffered acute aortic dissections at young ages (17 to 51 years). (more…)

Team Ritter Mom-Daughter Pair Selling Non-slip Headbands to Raise Money for the John Ritter Foundation

Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013, by with Comments Off

UPDATE 9/11/13: THE HEADBANDS ARE SOLD OUT! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. Donations to support Beth and Aubrey’s efforts can be made through their Crowdrise fundraising page:

Beth Hook and Aubrey Pollesch are a mother and daughter teamed up to run the 2013 ING NYC Marathon on The John Ritter Foundation’s Team Ritter.  They have a great story to tell and are full of innovative ideas for raising funds to reach and exceed their $3,000 fundraising goal.  To support their cause, Beth’s other daughter, Allie, is making non-slip headbands and selling them for donations.  Please read the story Aubrey wrote about why Team Ritter is so important to their family and please consider ordering a headband (or two or four or more):

What if your knowledge could save someone’s life?

My mom and I are honored to be chosen as representatives of Team Ritter!  And, we are honored to use our love and passion for running to raise money for a cause dear to our hearts.  We would love nothing more than to raise further awareness about aortic health.  Why? Because the knowledge we had saved my dad’s life twice.  And, we would love to help save more lives.  (more…)




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