This year's honored skipper is 3-year-old Chloe Nesbit from Harvey, who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in 2004. The Northshore regatta sails from Pontchartrain Yacht Club March 17-18. The south shore event will be March 31-April 1 at the Southern and New Orleans Yacht Clubs. Boat registration is $75. (For reservations, call 837-0945.) Races begin at 10 a.m.
Non-sailors are invited to attend skipper parties at 6:30 p.m. after Saturday races on both the Northshore and south shore. Sailing lessons, trips on award-winning sailboats, weekend getaways and other packages will be auctioned off.
For more information, visit the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society Web site at www.LLS.org or call 1-800-HELPLLS.
New Cardiac Device
Ochsner Health System is taking part in a multi-center clinical study of a new implantable pulse generator called the Optimizer. It is believed patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure will benefit from the new device, which delivers electrical impulses to the heart to regulate heart muscle contractions.
Ochsner Medical Center is the only hospital in Louisiana participating in the clinical research study, and Deborah Bourque of New Orleans received the first Louisiana Optimizer implant in October 2005.
Currently, no other devices work like the Optimizer. Pacemakers and defibrillators work to stop abnormal heart rhythms, but the Optimizer is the first implantable device that modulates the strength of heart muscle contractions. For more information, visit www.ochsner.org.
Bird Flu Summit
The 4th International Bird Flu summit will be held March 14-15 in Washington, D.C., with speakers addressing pandemic, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery issues. Some scheduled topics include delivery of vaccine and antiviral medication, the socio-economic impact of bird flu on the poultry industry and prevention education efforts. For more information, see www.new-fields.com.
Autism Awareness Month
Autism Speaks and Regal Entertainment Group are joining forces to spread awareness about the developmental disorder. Regal Entertainment will run 30-second public service ads before every film shown on its movie screens from April 6-12 in conjunction with Autism Awareness Month.
A complex brain disorder, Autism inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism now affects one in every 166 children and is diagnosed in four times as many boys as girls.
With a tenfold increase in total diagnoses over the last decade, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and raising money to fund the search for a cure. Regal Entertainment Group is the largest motion picture exhibitor in the world. The company operates 6,386 screens in 539 locations.