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John Ritter Foundation Selected to Be a Charity Partner of the 2013 ING NYC Marathon

Posted on Monday, April 22nd, 2013, by with Comments Off

The John Ritter Foundation (JRF) announced it was selected as an official charity of the ING New York City Marathon to take place on Sunday, November 3, 2013.  What a great opportunity to increase awareness of thoracic aortic disease, as well as raise funds to support education and research!

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, click here.  Donations to JRF can also be made through the JRF website.

Congratulations, John Ritter Foundation!!

Research on Bicuspid Aortic Valves at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Posted on Friday, April 12th, 2013, by with Comments Off

Research on the genetics of bicuspid aortic valves (BAVs) is underway at the John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).  Led by Dr. Siddharth Prakash, the research team aims to determine the mechanisms and cardiac complications of BAV disease.

If you have questions or are interested in participating, more information is available here or by contacting the Study Coordinator, Josephine Turner (  Patients can refer themselves for the study; it is not necessary to be referred by a physician.

Paint & Sip for a Cause on April 13, 2013 in Saratoga Springs, NY

Posted on Saturday, April 6th, 2013, by with Comments Off

This is your chance to paint your own masterpiece and raise money to support efforts to increase awareness and genetic research on thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections.  How cool is that?

This event will honor the memory of Cliff Klein and the positive impact he had on many people’s lives.  We thank Sarah Jurica for organizing this and for her support of the John Ritter Foundation.

Date:  Saturday, April 13, 2013

Time:  4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Location:  Saratoga Paint & Sip Studio, 80 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs, NY  12866

Click here to register:

Survivors of Aortic Dissection Group Meeting Scheduled in Ann Arbor, Michigan on April 22, 2013

Posted on Friday, April 5th, 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 this information about a group meeting that one survivor has organized in Michigan.  Here are the details:

Chris Kasper ( has organized a support and informational group meeting for survivors of aortic dissection, their families, and their caregivers to take place in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Monday, April 22, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Eastern time.  The meeting will be held at:

University of Michigan

EAA Health & Geriatrics Center

Room B1-407

4260 Plymouth Rd.

Ann Arbor, MI 48109

There are three buildings which make up this “campus”.  The building where the meeting will be held is the one in the center.  When you enter the building, take the elevator to level B1.  Exit straight out of the elevator and go through a set of double doors to the left of Java city.  The conference room is B1-407 and will be on the right side of the hallway across from the patio.  Please contact Chris directly at with any questions.  

A subsequent meeting is being planned for July 22, 2013 in the same location.  Chris is hoping to make this a quarterly event.

Thank you, Chris, for sharing this information with us and for providing survivors with an opportunity to meet and talk!

3rd Annual Adler Paddler Stand Up Paddling Fundraiser

Posted on Monday, March 11th, 2013, by with Comments Off

The 3rd annual ADLER PADDLER will be held this Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. at Leeway Beach in Long Beach, California.  Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.  The event is being held to remember Steve Adler and to raise funds and increase awareness for aortic disease, the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health, and the Thoracic Aortic Disease Coalition.

If you enjoy stand up paddling or prone paddling or just want to have fun supporting a worthy cause, come on out!  Boards will be available to rent on a first come, first served basis.

Space has been rented at the US Sailing Center, and there will be shelter and bathrooms this year…so the weather is bound to be perfect now that there is a back-up plan!

WHERE:  Belmont Shores, Long Beach Ca. (5437 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach)

WHAT:  A FREE 2.8 or 5.6 mile SUP & Prone Paddle Board Race around Naples Island (option to do one or two laps this year)  & a “FUN” paddle for those who just want to get in the spirit and celebrate Steve Adler!

Sources for more information:



Event poster:

Video from 1st Annual Adler Paddler:

Free Course Taught by MIT Instructors: Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life

Posted on Friday, March 1st, 2013, by with Comments Off

If you have ever wanted to learn more about genetics but haven’t wanted to take an entire course in genetics, this class may be for you.  It is an introductory biology class with emphasis on genetics hosted by professor Eric Lander of MIT, one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project.  Best of all, it is free!  The class starts on March 5, 2013, but you can register and take the course anytime before the class end date of May 28, 2013.


Check it out:

John Ritter Foundation Art Gallery Is Launched

Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013, by with Comments Off

The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health is excited to announce an online gallery of original artwork created by John Ritter’s family and friends:  Amy Yasbeck’s sister, Ann Reece, is one of the featured artists.

Twenty percent of the sale proceeds will go to the John Ritter Foundation to support education on aortic disease and research on the genetic basis of thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections.

If you would like to be considered as a featured artist, please contact the gallery through its website:

The John Ritter Foundation is a collaborative partner of the John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases.  We thank the Foundation for providing financial support for our research on the genetic basis of thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections.

BioHouston to Honor Dr. Dianna M. Milewicz for Scientific Leadership

Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2012, by with Comments Off

Dianna M. Milewicz, MD, PhD, Director of the John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases and holder of the President George H.W. Bush Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, will be honored on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 by BioHouston at its Fourth Annual Lunch Celebrating Women in Science.

To be held at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston, TX, the luncheon also will honor Dr. Lydia Kavraki, Rice University; Dr. Renu Khator, University of Houston; and Sara Ortwein, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company.

The four will be celebrated for demonstrating “extraordinary leadership in science and technology.”

The mission of BioHouston is to “create an environment that will stimulate technology transfer and research commercialization, thereby generating economic wealth for the Houston region and making it a global competitor in life science commercialization.”

Registration deadline is Friday, November 9 at 3:00 p.m. Central time.

Congratulations, Dr. Milewicz!

The Sofia Gutierrez Second Annual Brain Aneurysm Fund Raiser Event – November 10, 2012

Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, by with Comments Off

The second annual Sofia Gutierrez Brain Aneurysm Awareness Fund Raiser Event will be held from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, at the Orange Park Mall in Orange Park, Florida (20 miles south of Jacksonville).  Here is the very touching story of the Gutierrez family’s motivation to find answers about cerebral aneurysms:  Family warns parents about condition that killed daughter.

The event will benefit the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health, and all funds raised will go to the Sofia Alejandra Gutierrez Brain Aneurysm Research Fund to support research the John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases (JRRP) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is doing on the genetics of cerebral aneurysms.  The Director of the JRRP, Dianna M. Milewicz, MD, PhD, will attend and be available to answer questions about the genetics of cerebral and other vascular aneurysms.

The event will feature the Clay County Fire Department, Shands Hospital Trauma One Helicopter, bounce houses, live entertainment, silent auction, door prizes, vendors, and much more.

If you’re in the Orange Park area and looking for something fun for the family to do, come on out!

Meet Monica Slack of Team Ritter

Posted on Sunday, October 28th, 2012, by with Comments Off

Monica Slack will be one of 15 individuals running to raise money and increase awarenesss of thoracic aortic disease for the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health (JRF) at the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 4, 2012.  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. 

Meet Monica: 

Acute care nurse practitioner Monica Slack has daily encounters with patients who have suffered acute aortic dissections and aneurysms, as well as other cardiovascular diseases. Working in the cardiac surgical intensive care unit at The University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, she works hard to educate her patients about their disease. The 25-year-old is also a dedicated marathon runner and she didn’t hesitate to sign up for Team Ritter. “As someone who works with these patients firsthand, I would like nothing more than to combine my love of running with a cause about which I am passionate and feel as though I can incorporate into my daily work-life. These patients are often unaware of the function of the aorta, how it dissects and the high likelihood of mortality following perforation of the aorta. They are also unaware of the importance of blood pressure control in preventing aortic pathology,” Slack said. “A charity such as this one can contribute to preventative aortic health education in the outpatient/public spectrum.”

Text RITTERMS to 41444 to donate $10 (or specify a different amount in the text message) to JRF to support Monica’s run. Or donate online:

Read the full press release here.

Deborah Mann Lake, UTHealth Media Relations
Media Hotline: 713-500-3030




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