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

Watkins Little, the “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy”, 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 Watkins: 

Watkins Little, aka “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy,” raced into Internet fame this spring after a spectator’s photo of him went viral on the internet and earned him his new nickname. The photo also caught the eye of Team Ritter. “When I was approached by Amy (Yasbeck) to run for the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health, the title alone sold me on running for their marathon team,” said Little, 26, who was raised in Charleston, N.C., and now lives in New York City. “I, of course, knew who John Ritter was, but being able to raise awareness for thoracic aortic disease and cardiovascular health in general was the most important factor for me. I am extremely honored to have this opportunity.” Little, a public relations specialist in the music industry, first began running with his father through their suburban neighborhood at night. “Even qualifying for the marathon lottery was once a dream,” he said. “Last year, I was so pumped watching the marathon on TV, I ran over the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn to watch it firsthand and cheer everyone. Now, I have a cause that I am running for and that means so much more personally than just completing 26.2 miles.” 

Text RITTERWL to 41444 to donate $10 (or specify a different amount in the text message) to JRF to support Watkins’ run. Or donate online: http://www.crowdrise.com/TeamRitterNYCMarathon2012/fundraiser/watkinslittle.

Read the full press release here.

Deborah Mann Lake, UTHealth Media Relations
Media Hotline: 713-500-3030
                                                            
http://www.ingnycmarathon.org/                                                             http://www.nyrr.org/

Actor Tyler Ritter; Watkins Little, the “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy;” thoracic aortic disease survivors and an aortic surgeon will be among the 15 Team Ritter runners dedicated to raising money 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. To donate, visit Edward Norton’s Crowdrise online fundraising community: http://www.crowdrise.com/TeamRitterNYCMarathon2012/fundraiser/johnritterfoundation.

Read the press release here:  http://www.uthouston.edu/media/story.htm?id=6dae1471-9736-49a6-bd12-d51bdb74c517

Meet the runners of Team Ritter: Read more