Category Archives: HEALTH+EDUCATION

“Dine Out” To Support The Houston AIDS Foundation [@AIDSHelpHouston]

For one day in April – April 30, 2015 – more than 40 Houston-area restaurants are donating a percentage of sales to AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH) through their participation in the nationwide annual event, Dining Out for Life.

“I have been amazed about how the top restaurants in Houston have been so supportive of this event. Everyone at every price point can participate and feel great about eating out on April 30” comments Dining Out for Life event chair, Jessica Rossman.

Guests interested in supporting AIDS Foundation Houston through Dining Out for Life can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner throughout the day at a variety of restaurants, with a percentage of sales from the day committed to help end new HIV/AIDS infections and help those who are infected. For a list of the more than 40 (and counting) participating restaurants visit AIDSHelp.org/DiningOutforLife.

“We have a chance to end HIV/AIDS within our lifetime” explains Kelly Young, Chief Executive Officer of AIDS Foundation Houston. “Dining Out for Life not only raises money to end HIV/AIDS but also raises awareness about the disease.”

Dining Out for Life was created in 1991 by an ActionAIDS volunteer in Philadelphia. The event is hosted annually in cities across the U.S. and Canada by local service organizations, a mandate that ensures funds raised locally stay local. Since the inception, the national event has grown exponentially. In 2014, 53 cities hosted Dining Out for Life with participation from more than 3,100 restaurants. These efforts raised $4.13M in support of local service organizations, or 15.4% of local service organizations expenses in the fight against HIV/AIDS. 2015 is trending to be a record year, with more than 60 participating service organizations – Dining Out for Life’s largest year yet. AIDS Foundation Houston began participating in the national Dining Out for Life event in the inaugural year and has since raised thousands of dollars for support locally.

The 2015 menu of restaurants includes something for everyone, from foodie favorites to casual comforts. Find a restaurant now and make plans now to Dine Out for Life on April 30.

2015 Dining Out for Life Participating Restaurants (as of 3/25/15)

Americas

Arturo Boada Cuisine

Baby Barnaby’s

Barnaby’s Downtown

Barnaby’s Heights

Barnaby’s Woodway

Barnaby’s West Gray

Brasserie 19

The Original Barnaby’s Fairview

Bombay Pizza Company

Café Piquet Cuban Cuisine

Canopy

Canyon Creek

Cedar Creek

Coppa Osteria

dgn Factory

Dry Creek

El Tiempo 1308 Cantina Montrose

El Tiempo Cantina Midtown

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse River Oaks

Harold’s Restaurant, Bar & Terrace

Ibiza

Jenni’s Noodle House Shepherd

Jenni’s Noodle House Heights

Jenni’s Noodle House Post Oak

Last Concert Café

Latin Bites

Liberty Kitchen River Oaks

Lowbrow

Niko Nikos Market Square

Niko Nikos Montrose

Onion Creek

Pepperoni’s Montrose

Prohibition

RDG + Bar Annie

Shade

Tila’s Restaurante & Bar

Zelko

March 27 Fair: Free Resources For Afterschool Programs, Day Care, Summer Camps

Opportunity Fair 

What:
From golfing to cooking, come see what kids ages 4-12 will be doing in afterschool programs, day cares and summer camps throughout the city as the Center for Afterschool, Summer and Expanded Learning for Kids, or CASE for Kids, presents the Opportunity Fair.

The fair is held for educators of school-age children in child care, summer camp or afterschool programs. Free activities from vendors include art, golf, cooking, mad science experiments and robotics. A lending library is provided by CASE for Kids so that programs may gain curriculum to enhance their offerings.

When:
Friday, March 27, 2015
10:30-11:30 a.m.

Where:
Harris County Department of Education
6300 Irvington Blvd.
Houston, TX 770222

Who:
Educators, day care directors and summer camp personnel will be in attendance to learn about CASE for Kids free activities and materials, including field trips and a lending library, as well as professional development opportunities such as conference scholarships.

Etc: Call Carol Vaughn, 281-660-9205, cvaughn@hcde-texas.org

About the Center for Afterschool, Summer and Expanded Learning (CASE) for Kids: CASE for Kids, formerly the Cooperative for After-School Enrichment, was launched by Harris County Department of Education in 1999. CASE for Kids is an after-school intermediary which leverages community resources and strengthens the capacity of the out-of-school time field. Services benefit approximately 11,000 kids in greater Harris County. CASE for Kids programs happen before and after school, on weekends and during the summer. Go to www.afterschoolzone.org for information.

Attempting to Conquer and Cover #SXSW While Battling #Lupus

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve attended SXSW (South By Southwest).  There are a few reasons as to why that is so but for the sake of not making this a 50 page dissertation (insert laugh),  I will only address two of those reasons.

1) Anyone who knows me is quite aware that I am a lover of music who often roots for the indie artist.  You know, that one with so much talent oozing out of the depths of their soul?  The one that prepares for SXSW in hopes that he/she will be seen, heard, or perhaps discovered.  And well, to me, the substance of SXSW isn’t much about that anymore.  And so,  for a while, I decided not to attend because of this but then I thought about it – what if others felt like me? What if we all stopped attending? Then who would be to witness to all of the great music out there? And while, I still have my feelings about the politics of it all, I am not here to criticize. Not at all.  It’s a great experience and I am thankful to be have been a part of it.

2) A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Lupus, although I had been battling the symptoms years before I was diagnosed. And without going into too much detail, Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation — pain and swelling. It affects the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system and other organs of the body (more information here).

With that being said, I recently had to take a step back (I love being busy!) and actually leave the career that I loved so much.  However, I knew I just couldn’t sit at home doing nothing.  Fast forward to today, and I have the privilage of writing for a weekly Houston publication along with contributions to some music blogs here and there; all from the comfort of my own home and at the leisure of my own pace!

So yes, it was time to tackle SXSW again but this time as an accredited writer/photographer.  No lie, I was intimidated.  Covering a festival this massive is fast-paced.  Who can upload their write up first….who got that million dollar picture? How in the hell was I going to keep up?  Please no Lupus flare up. 

Upon opening day of the festival’s interactive and film portion, I had already been to Austin twice that week.  One for a business meeting and the other for the Latin@s In Tech conference.  For some, that 2 to 3 hour drive from Houston to Austin (and back) might be an easy feat but for one battling Lupus, not quite so. Needless to say, my first day at SXSW, I was exhausted yet thankful.  Thankful for the clouds that beautifully shielded that sun from pounding down on me.  Sunlight can cause a lupus rash to flare and may even trigger a serious flare of the disease itself.  The sun has bought me down one time too many.

And I’ll be damned that on the very first day, I began to get a flare-up.  My hands swollen, legs in so much pain – the pain  I just didn’t know how I was going to get from one location to the other – would I give in to the pain in my knees?  The arthritic agony when snapping pictures of iconic artist? 

Unfortunately, in the end Lupus won but I didn’t accept defeat until after I got what I headed to SXSW for! I proved to myself that yes, I can still do what my heart desires, you’re never too old (or sick) to have some fun, and I got my picture of Molly Ringwald during the 30th anniversary of the Breakfast Club!

 

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Young Texas Cancer Patient’s Final Wish Is To Dance With Taylor Swift #ShakeItOffJalene

The last 10 months for Jalene Salinas have been filled with chemo, radiation and surgery, but her story isn’t just about cancer but hope, joy and her Texas community’s chance to make her final wish come true.

The 4-year-old, with perhaps only weeks to live, dreams of meeting her idol, Taylor Swift for the chance to dance to her hit song, ‘Shake it Off.’

Jalene’s mother, Jennifer Arriaga has chronicled Jalene’s Journey on Facebook. She says over the past few months the family has checked items off Jalene’s bucket list, with the exception of dancing to ‘Shake it Off’ with Swift.

“And you always say shake it off because you want to shake off what?” Arriaga asks her daughter. “Cancer.” Jalene says.
he last 10 months for Jalene Salinas have been filled with chemo, radiation and surgery, but her story isn’t just about cancer but hope, joy and her Texas community’s chance to make her final wish come true.

Jalene first went to the hospital in April 2014 complaining of headaches. Doctors believed the headaches were triggered by allergies and sent her home with Tylenol, but the headaches persisted and Arriaga took Jalene to Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

“Within twenty minutes of the scan, they realized she had swelling in her brain from fluid that was being blocked up from her tumor,” said Arriaga.

She was eventually diagnosed with a PNET tumor, a particularly aggressive form of cancer. Doctors were not able to stop the tumors from growing.

“There’s nothing else they can do for her,” said Arriaga. “They told us anything that you want to do with her now or she wants to do, go ahead and do it.”

Members of Jalene’s Texas community are using the hashtag #ShakeItOffJalene on Twitter and tagging @taylorswift13 to help send messages of support and help make her final wish come true.

More at KHOU.com

Children’s Museum of Houston to Offer Free Immunizations

WHAT: Children, 6 months to 18 years of age, needing vaccines, including the flu vaccine, will have the opportunity to receive them for free at the Children’s Museum of Houston.

Committed to creating a community of healthy children, Texas Children’s Mobile Clinic Program will administer free shots to the first 150 children to arrive. To qualify, parents and guardians will need their child’s immunization records. No need to pre-register.

After the vaccinations, children and families are invited to stay and enjoy the many hands-on exhibits the Museum has to offer. Explore Korean Pop, culture, television and technology in the Heart and Seoul: Growing Up in Korea exhibit running until May 10, or head to FlowWorks and EcoStation to enjoy the outdoors!

WHEN: 2015 FREE Shots every second Thursday of the month
• February 12
• March 5 (First Thursday of the month)
• April 9
• May 14
From 5 to 7 p.m. during Free Family Night Thursday
Limit first 150 children, ages 6 mo. – 18 years.

WHERE: Children’s Museum of Houston
1500 Binz St., Houston, TX 77004
***Activities, events and times subject to change.

• MUSEUM HOURS: Tues. – Sat.: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun: Noon – 6 p.m.
• Free Family Night every Thursday 5 – 8 p.m.
• For more information, visit www.cmhouston.org or call (713) 522- 1138.

Houston’s World AIDS Day Luncheon

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HOUSTON’S WORLD AIDS DAY LUNCHEON
FOCUSES ON ELIMINATING STIGMA

HOUSTON– AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc. (AFH) will continue its mission to end HIV/AIDS by presenting the World AIDS Day Luncheon on Monday Dec. 1st, 2014 at 11 a.m. at The Westin Galleria Ballroom.

Presented by Chevron, this year’s luncheon co-chairs are KPRC Local 2 News Anchor Dominique Sachse and David Chaumette from Chaumette, PLLC. Travis Torrence is serving as the honorary chair. The theme for this year’s luncheon focuses on Eliminating Stigma. In Houston and throughout the nation, stigma keeps thousands from annual HIV tests and shames those who are infected, keeping them from seeking and staying in medical care. Fighting HIV/AIDS begins with fighting stigma and it starts with education and understanding.

“Many Americans – and many donors – think that HIV/AIDS is a thing of the past or that other problems deserve more attention. But make no mistake: The AIDS epidemic is raging. It is being fueled by injustice and fanned by ignorance…Among marginalized populations, [sic] the AIDS epidemic is spiraling out of control.” – Scott Campbell, Executive Director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Continue reading Houston’s World AIDS Day Luncheon

Findings Give Hope to Plant Extract as Possible #Lupus Treatment

New findings by a biomedical engineer and his team at the University of Houston (UH) raise hope for a new class of drugs to treat lupus that may not include the long list of adverse risks and side effects often associated with current treatments for this disease.

Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus, is a progressive, degenerative disease in which the immune system turns against itself, attacking a person’s healthy tissue, cells and organs. Symptoms range from debilitating pain and fatigue to organ failure and a host of other impairments. An estimated 1.5 million Americans, and at least five million people worldwide, have a form of lupus.

Though there is no cure, a UH researcher and his team are actively working toward finding new treatments and, ultimately, a cure. Chandra Mohan, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Endowed Professor of biomedical engineering in the UH Cullen College of Engineering, and his group’s latest work could lead to new, more natural therapeutics for lupus that use a plant-derived chemical. The promising findings were recently published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, the monthly journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

With only one drug specifically approved for the treatment of lupus in the past 50 years, lupus patients are commonly treated with steroids, a class of immunosuppressive drugs that delay the development and progression of the disease by suppressing the immune system. By suppressing the immune system in its entirety, however, this mode of treatment carries with it an increased risk of infections and other harmful side effects.

In this latest research, Mohan and his colleagues present new findings that detail the use of a synthetic, plant-derived compound – abbreviated CDDO – that was shown to effectively suppress the multiple steps of lupus development in murine models, including the onset of kidney disease.

One of the most common organs to be attacked by lupus is the kidney, manifesting in lupus nephritis. While this condition doesn’t affect all lupus sufferers, an estimated 40 percent of lupus patients develop it. Lupus nephritis, which causes inflammation of the kidneys and impairs their ability to effectively rid the body of waste products and other toxins, is the leading cause of lupus-related deaths and results in tens of thousands of hospitalizations per year.

“The development of lupus is a two-step reaction. First, the immune system develops antibodies that attack the body’s own DNA, then that activated immune system attacks the kidneys,” Mohan said. “We found that CDDO may block both of these steps.”

Mohan says there is much left to be discovered about CDDO, including how it works in suppressing the progression of lupus. The next step for this research is to confirm whether the CDDO compound suppresses the immune system across the board, or whether it simply suppresses the activation of the specific signaling pathways that lead to the development of lupus. To find this out, Mohan’s group will test it in the lab to see if they can mount the proper immune response. If not, Mohan says the compound likely could be suppressing the entire immune system, which is the current problem with using steroids to treat lupus. Even if the compound is shown to be generally immunosuppressive, however, it still may be a better treatment option than steroids for some patients.

 

More at www.uh.edu

Houston Children’s Charity Gives Wheelchair Vans to Nine Disabled Houstonians

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Houston’s Children’s Charity and AMS Vans, Inc. have partnered together in support of the nonprofit’s “Chariots for Children” program to give nine lucky Houston individuals and agencies a free wheelchair conversion van. Each of these individuals suffer from multiple handicaps that make their everyday life a challenge for them and their families.

These deserving recipients will receive a wheelchair van that provides families with special needs mobility freedom, unlocking opportunities of transportation and travel. With dealerships expanding across the nation, AMS Vans accommodates wheelchair users and their families with a side or rear wheelchair ramp.

WHO: Laura Ward, Houston Children’s Charity Executive Director
Dallas Crum, AMS Vans, Inc. General Manager/Community Relations Manager
Rachael Gordon, Texas Mattress Makers Official Spokesperson
Tilman Fertitta, Houston Children’s Charity Board Member and CEO of Landry’s, Inc.

Images and interviews will be available with each of these admirable Houstonians and agencies who receive a wheelchair van and have their lives dramatically enhanced.

WHY: With the substantial deduction in cost from AMS Vans, this event will be the most vans Houston Children’s Charity has ever awarded in one year. With so many applicants, the nonprofit’s focus has become to award these vans to individuals and agencies with the greatest need and impact in their lives moving forward.

Through “Chariots for Children”, Houston Children’s Charity has awarded 89 passenger vans, 21 handicapped accessible vehicles, three box trucks, one car and two vehicle modifications to 93 agencies and 21 individual families, at a cost of $2,850,698 over the past 17 years.

Additional event sponsors include: Texas Mattress Makers and Silver Eagle Distributors. During the event, Texas Mattress Makers will also make a surprise announcement with donating 200 beds as well as reveal they are the new Bed Partner of Houston Children’s Charity. For over 35 years, Texas Mattress Makers has been producing high quality mattresses with materials purchased exclusively from US based companies with no outsourced labor. They are the experts in the art of making mattresses, knowing which mattress best fits each customer and guarantees sleep satisfaction.

WHEN: Friday, October 10 from 2 PM – 4 PM
3 PM – signature photo opportunity for van giveaway

WHERE: Willie G’s – Post Oak Room
1605 Post Oak Blvd.
Houston, TX 77056

MORE INFO: Houston Children’s Charity is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for Greater Houston’s underprivileged, abused, and handicapped children who have been otherwise left behind. The scope of our support is limited only by the availability of resources. Their goal is to let no legitimate request for assistance go unanswered.

#Lupus and Sleep Problems

As we all know, sleep is important to our emotional and physical health. It’s a time to re-boot, refreshing our minds and our bodies to wake up fresh to a new day. But for many people with lupus, a good night’s sleep can be elusive.

A new study published in the Journal of Rheumatology showed that people with lupus have more sleep problems than people in the general population, and anxiety and depression seem related to these sleep disturbances. Fatigue is a major lupus symptom, and not sleeping well only adds to a feeling of fatigue and lethargy. Anxiety and depression are common experiences for people with chronic illness, and it is often difficult to distinguish whether the depression is caused by lupus, if the anxiety is caused by a medication side-effect, or if these emotional experiences are a result of having to cope with having lupus. Regardless, it is a good idea to tell your rheumatologist if you are not getting enough sleep, and also if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Keeping a sleep diary to track your sleep patterns can be helpful. Perhaps you will notice a relationship with certain factors in your life and the nights that you have sleeping difficulties. For example, maybe every time you had to deal with a challenging person in your life you did not sleep well the night before or after. Or perhaps you notice that since taking a certain medication you have more trouble sleeping.  If you use a smart phone, you can even try a sleep diary ap.

Read more at LupusNY.org

[Recap] #LupusChat with Dr Akerkar on Lupus & Pregnancy

First, a huge thanks to Tiffany (@TiffanyandLupus) and Dr. Shashank Akerkar for the invaluable information. 

Secondly, no I am not pregnant.  I have Lupus and want to share this information with any of my fellow spoonies out there either already pregnant or thinking about starting a family. 

Here is some information that was shared yesterday.  However, I do recommend that you speak with your primary care physician on this matter.

1) Lupus does NOT make is harder to conceive.

2) However, data shows that spontaneous abortions and stillbirths 5 times risk as compared to non lupus pregnancies

3)Fetal loss in decreased from from 40% in 1960–65 to 17% 2000–03.

4) Lupus is not associated with infertility unless the woman has been treated with cyclophosphamide

5) Cyclophosphamide used for nephritis can lead to premature ovarian failure

6) Recent studies a higher incidence of premature menoapuse in #lupus probably due to anti ovary antibodies (Read more here)

7) One should not have active kidney disease (minimum 6 months) prior to planning pregnancy

For more information, visit TiffanyandLupus