St. Patrick’s day weekend is a big one for Team Ritter. We have two opportunities for LA to show us some Team Ritter spirit.

Event 1: Team Ritter is participating in the LA Marathon on March 19th. Help us support and cheer the team on!

Read about  our Team Ritter champions at this link.

Event 2: Also on March 19th is the 7th annual Adler Paddler in Long Beach, a FREE race in memory of SoCal racer Steve Adler who passed away from a thoracic aortic dissection. Read about the event and register for free here.

Click here to apply!

The John Ritter Foundation (JRF) is proud to announce it has been selected as an official charity of the TCS New York City Marathon to take place on Sunday, November 5, 2017.  We are honored to have been chosen once again.

We are looking for a team of people who are passionate about increasing awareness of aortic dissection and its risk factors, committed to raising money to support our mission, and who want to train for and run the marathon.  Here is what some past Team Ritter runners had to say about the experience:

“You have to do it!  Great race. Great Team.”

“Hands down — absolutely go for it!!!  It is a fabulous experience running the NYC marathon and working with the JRF team is great.  It’s a rewarding experience and if you have a passion for aortic disease, raising awareness and other aspects of aortic health and education, this is the organization you want to be part of!!”

If you are interested in applying for a spot on the team, please fill out an application here. Have questions?  Please send an email to info@JohnRitterFoundation.org.

If you are not a runner but would like to support Team Ritter, please send an email describing your skills or interests and how you would like to help to info@JohnRitterFoundation.org.  Donations to the JRF can also be made through our website.  Thank you for your support!

#TeamRitter

The  inaugural John Ritter Foundation Community Symposium was held on Saturday, January 14th, 2017 in the Texas Medical Center.

The half day event presented medical expert perspectives on aortic disease and is available for viewing at this link.

Alternate video livestreamed from the symposium is also available on the JRF Facebook page.

Hollywood actor, Alan Thicke, died due to an acute aortic dissection.  This is the same cause of death that led to the tragic loss of life of fellow Hollywood comedian and actor John Ritter over 13 years ago in Los Angeles.  An acute aortic dissection can mimic a heart attack and if not detected and treated emergently, nearly 40% of all incidents of aortic dissection lead to death.  Yet, many of the 25,000 people a year who die from an aortic dissection could potentially be diagnosed before the dissection and treated so a dissection is prevented.

What is an Aortic Dissection?

An aortic dissection occurs when there is a tear in the wall of the aorta, the major artery coming out of the heart. The tear allows the blood to ‘dissect’ from inside the lumen of the aorta into the wall.  As the dissection progresses, the wall is torn apart and weakened, leading to aortic rupture and sudden death.

Alan Thicke complained of chest pains while playing hockey on December 13th.  His chest pains were most likely due to the acute tear in the aorta and the following aortic dissection.  His dissected aorta ruptured three hours later, ultimately leading to his death.  Alan Thicke’s aortic rupture was caused by his aortic dissection.

How To Prevent an Aortic Dissection?

Much is written about how the flaw in the aorta that leads to dissection is “undetectable” and “untreatable.” However, many people of the 25,000 people a year who die of aortic disease can be diagnosed before the dissection, and treated so that a dissection is prevented. Typically, there is a widening or ballooning out of the aorta, called an aneurysm, before the dissection occurs.  These aneurysms progressively grow larger without symptoms.  While people can live with a growing aneurysm for years, when a dissection occurs, it often kills quickly within a matter of hours.  If the aneurysm is detected, it can be surgically repaired to prevent a dissection.

The aorta is the main vessel that sends blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. It is shaped like a candy cane and is typically about as wide as a garden hose (2.5-3.5 cm). When blood is pumped by the heart, it first travels through the aorta.  An aortic aneurysm is a widening, bulging, or ballooning out of a portion of the aorta. Aneurysms usually occur where there is a weak spot in the aortic wall.

What Are the Risk Factors  For Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections?

There are several factors that can increase the risk of dissection, including genetic and environmental influences:

Genetic factors can increase the risk for aortic disease.  If you have a family member who has had an aortic dissection, this is a red flag that other family members may also be at risk for an aortic dissection.  After John Ritter’s death, his family members had imaging to determine if they had an undetected aneurysm.  It was found that John’s brother did have an aneurysm. He had it surgically repaired, and is alive and well today. Had he not taken preventative measures, the chances for aortic dissection were considerably high.

Genetic syndromes like Marfan, Loeys-Dietz and vascular Ehlers Danlos syndrome can predispose to aortic dissection.

Environmental factors that increase the chance to develop an aortic aneurysm or dissection include the following:

To learn more about the different types of genetic risks, review the Ritter Rules.

Email info@johnritterfoundation.org with any questions/requests

About The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health:

Founded in October 2003, just weeks after actor John Ritter’s sudden death due to an acute aortic dissection, the foundation is dedicated to improving the identification of individuals at risk for aortic dissections and the treatment of thoracic aortic disease through medical research. The foundation also seeks to provide accurate information to the general public about the disease and its risk factors, along with support to individuals who have thoracic aortic disease or have lost a loved one to the disease.  

It can be difficult to find others to talk to who understand what aortic disease is like.  The John Ritter Foundation is pleased to pass along information about a support group meeting organized by a survivor of aortic dissection in Michigan.  Everyone that has been affected by aortic disease is welcome to attend and support each other.  Here are the details: Read more

* 2015 SHIRTS ARE AVAILABLE- CLICK HERE TO CHECK THEM OUT! *

On November 3, twenty-two Team Ritter runners ran the ING NYC Marathon 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 our 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 team with Amy Yasbeck, Stella, and Jason Ritter

#TeamRitter
@JRFromtheHeart
@JohnRitterPRGM

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: www.crowdrise.com/TeamRitterINGNYCMarathon2013.

“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 here: Read more

Thirty-One consultant, Kathleen Golden, says:

“Please join me in helping this great cause to support the John Ritter Foundation.  When most think of John Ritter, they think of Jack Tripper from Three’s Company, but Mr. Ritter was much more than that.  He was a son, a husband, a father, a friend.  John Ritter passed away 10 years ago due to an aortic dissection.  My friend, Ed Cooning IV, lost a dear friend at a very early age to the same medical issue, and Ed and a group of friends started “Jonnie’s Good Guys” in May of 2006 in honor of his friend. Read more

Team Ritter members Linda Nihill Belocas and Brian Nihill will be having a tailgate party in memory of their father, Torrey Nihill, to be held in Hanover, MA on Sunday, October 6, 2013.  Proceeds will benefit the John Ritter Foundation (JRF).  Linda and Brian say, “Please come and watch the Patriots beat the Bengals and enjoy an afternoon of football and fun for a great cause close to our hearts!”

This entertaining event will have something for everyone, including:

  • Wood fired pizza cart
  • Sausage cart (with hotdogs and hamburgers, too!)
  • Wine / beer
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Kids’ activities (bouncy houses, games, & more, including a mobile gaming truck!)
  • Outdoor TVs to watch the game
  • Boston sports t-shirt truck
  • Live music:  Kurt Remlinger and Fil Pacino
  • 50/50 drawing
  • Silent Auction:  bid now on fun items and activities like golf, whitewater rafting, hot air balloon rides, and art
  • Purchase a commemorative beer stein or wine glass for $20, and enjoy unlimited fills on tap brews or wine!  Available for purchase on game day.

What:    New England Patriots Tailgate Party
When:   Sunday, October 6, 2013 – 12:00-5:00 p.m.
Where:  73 Town Line Drive, Hanover, MA
Cost:     $25 per person, ages 12 and older (children age 11 and younger are free)
(Your first 2 beers are included in the ticket price, food is extra)

To purchase tickets, mail a check (with return address) for $25 per ticket to:

Brian Nihill
P.O. Box 2200
Hanover, MA  02339

Questions? Click here to send an email to Brian.

Thank you for your support, Linda and Brian!  Please read their story to find out why supporting the JRF is important to them: Read more

Team Ritter member Stacy Curtis has organized a Glow Light Run and Walk to be held in Springfield, IL on Saturday, October 5, 2013.  Proceeds will benefit the John Ritter Foundation (JRF).

What is a Glow Light Run/Walk?  Run, walk, skip or dance along a FUN, MUSIC-FILLED, GLOWING course.  Along the way, GLOW ZONES with black lights illuminate you, while the music keeps you energized!  The finish line features LED-lit steel arches with a LIGHT SHOW SYNCED TO MUSIC!!!

​All paid participants will receive:

  • GLOW-IN-THE-DARK “Glow Light Run” shirt
  • Goody bag with Glow Accessories

Children 10 and under are FREE with a paid adult; however, registration is still required.  Registered participants 10 & under will receive a bib number and goody bag with glow accessories; t-shirts not included. Glow-in-the-Dark Youth “Glow Light Run” shirts are available for purchase during online registration.  Fun glow bling and accessories will be available for purchase during the event.

What:    Glow Light Run and Walk
When:   Saturday, October 5, 2013 – 7:00 p.m.
Where:  Hope Pavilion at Southwind Park, 4965 South 2nd Street, Springfield, IL 62703

Registration closes on Saturday, September 28, so register TODAY.

Thank you for your support, Stacy!  Please read Stacy’s story to find out why supporting the JRF is so important to her: Read more