The John Ritter Foundation and Olivia Petrera-Cohen’s family invite you to join the “Love for Livie Legacy Benefit” on November 3rd, 2017 at Lavo in NYC. All proceeds from this benefit will be used to fund research on the disease that took Olivia from her family a month before her second birthday.

Olivia had a rare disease called Multisystemic Smooth Muscle Dysfunction Syndrome (MSMDS), a disease described a few years ago by Dr. Milewicz and her research group at the UTHealth John Ritter Research Program. It is our hope that sweet, brave, beautiful Livie’s spirit and legacy will live on in this effort to help other children with this disease.

For more information on MSMDS, or to support Livie’s legacy by attending the benefit or making a donation go to

The John Ritter Foundation (JRF) is proud to announce it has been selected as an official charity of the ASICS LA Marathon to take place on Sunday, March 15, 2015.  We are excited to have this opportunity to offer an additional Team Ritter event to increase awareness of thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections and raise money to support our mission.  And we are also excited because this event offers opportunities for marathoners AND half-marathoners.

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 a past Team Ritter member had to say about the being a part of Team Ritter: Read more


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


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 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

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’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. 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

Linda Belocas, member of the Team Ritter 2013 ING NYC Marathon team and Independent Rep with Silpada Jewelry, will donate 30% of all sales of the handcrafted sterling silver jewelry to the John Ritter Foundation when purchased through her website.

Linda and her brother, Brian Nihill, are both members of Team Ritter, and are working together to reach their $6,000 joint fundraising goal.  They are running in honor of their father, Torrey Nihill, who passed away due to a brain aneurysm.  Please support their efforts by purchasing your sparkle at   It makes the perfect stocking stuffer, thoughtful holiday gift, or addition to your own wardrobe!

Instructions for purchasing jewelry:

1.  Visit Linda’s interactive e-commerce page at


3.  On top of the horizontal bar where it says “Invited to a Party?”, choose “Find your Hostess now!

4.  Choose “TEAM RITTER” from the list of hostesses.

5. Continue shopping!

You can also make a donation directly to support Linda’s and Brian’s efforts on their Crowdrise fundraising page:

Thank you, Linda and Brian, for your support!


Dan Gosling of ChopSaver writes:

“One of the coolest things about building a company is making connections with great people. Here is an example of just that.

This my friend Ed Cooning IV.  Ed first learned about ChopSaver from his marching band days.  Now, he runs marathons (runners LOVE ChopSaver) to raise money for great causes like Jonnie’s Goodguys, the charity he and friends started in memory of a friend who died tragically young from aortic dissection.

Ed has since partnered with other great charities, and one of those is the John Ritter Foundation.  The John Ritter Foundation was created in October 2003, just weeks after John’s sudden death due to an acute aortic dissection.  Formed by his widow, Amy Yasbeck, and their family for the purpose of receiving donations in honor of John’s life, the Foundation is focused on thoracic aortic disease education, support, and research.  So, we thought of a cool way ALL OF YOU can help out too.

Place your order for ChopSaver and receive 15% off the purchase price. In addition, we will donate 15% of the purchase price to the John Ritter Foundation.  Use the promo code RITTER to save 15% on your online purchase AND we will make an equal contribution to the Foundation. For example, order a 6 pack, you save $3.71 and ChopSaver will donate $3.71 to a great cause.

Also, Ed is running the New York City Marathon on November 3rd on behalf of the John Ritter Foundation.  If you would like to make a direct donation to the cause, you can do so by clicking here.  It’s our way of helping people who are trying to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Thank you for your support, Dan and Ed!  This offer is available through September 12, 2013.

Check out ChopSaver Lip Balm – endorsed by runners and wind and brass instrument players!