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News in Brief: Lupus Walk, CHS winners, Community Gardens

This week saw money raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and lupus research.

Make-A-Wish Gala: Seven hundred people went to the Mohegan Sun Casino April 30  to celebrate dreams coming true, attending the foundation's  “Evening of Wishes."

The foundation grants wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. 

The event was hosted by FOX CT Morning News Anchor Sarah French and CBS Radio’s “Voice of the UConn Huskies” Joe D’Ambrosio.

Dinner was created and presented live by renowned chef Todd English.

The night included dinner, dancing, live and silent auction items, and featured six honored Wish families who shared their inspirational stories of hope, strength and joy.

2011 marks the chapter’s 25th year in Connecticut and the chapter will soon grant its 2,000th wish.

The event grossed $400,000.

CHS Students Write Their Laws of Life: Two seventh-graders placed in the top 10 in the annual Laws of Life Essay Contest, created in 1987 by the late Sir John Templeton to encourage young people to reflect on their core values.

Seventh-graders Stephen Cardone and McKenna Mase were selected among 10 winners. About 3,000 essays were entered, from children in grades 5-12. The program is administered by the School for Ethical Education.

A dinner honoring all the winners was held at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven on May 4.  

Templeton, the well-known businessman and philanthropist, began the contest in Franklin, Tenn., but it has spread community by community across the United States and to more than 30 countries around the world to date.

CHS, located in Trumbull, is a private, K-12, college-preparatory day school.  470 students are enrolled for the 2010-2011 school year and are from 36 different towns and over 100 different churches. CHS is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  For more information, please log onto www.kingsmen.org.

Lupus Walk: The Lupus Foundation of America’s Connecticut Chapter held its second Annual Walk for Lupus Now®  at the May 1.  

The event was hosted and supported by the mall, led by  Senior General Manager Bryan Gaus and his entire management team.  State Rep. Tony Hwang, R-Trumbull, and Trumbull First Selectman Timothy Herbst participated in the walk and opening remarks, in front of over 175 supporters who filled the Court with music, food and fun at the same time raising essential funds for research, education and support services for lupus patients who live in our area as well as an increasing the overall awareness of lupus, according to a press release.

"Lupus is an acute and chronic (life-long) autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually any organ in the body. Its health effects include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, miscarriages, and organ failure," the release states.

Ninety percent of the people with lupus are women, and it is two to three times more common among African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, and Asians. Over 17,000 Connecticut  residents and 1.5 million Americans live with lupus every day, according to the release.

More than 50 volunteers worked for months to help raise funds and awareness for people suffering from lupus, and the event raised more than $17,000, the release states.

 The Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter, Inc. was established in 1973 as a nonprofit agency.

If you have any questions, would like information about local support groups or to make a donation to the Fairfield County Walk please contact the Lupus Foundation’s  Connecticut Chapter at 860-269-6240 or visit their website http://www.lupusct.org. If you would like to join the Committee for the 2012 Walk, please call Michael F. Ganino at 203-257-3619 or email at mikeg@dhls.com

Hwang has supported legislation he has cosponsored which would create an Interagency and Partnership Advisory Panel on lupus. The panel is charged with developing and implementing a comprehensive lupus education and awareness plan after evaluating and analyzing existing educational materials and resources, Hwang said.

The inflammation caused by lupus can impact many different body systems including the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart and lungs.

 “Lupus is a disease that impacts over 17,000 Connecticut residents, and its impact is not only physical, but also emotional and impacts quality of life,” Hwang said. “We need to advocate for a cure to this insidious disease. One of the best means to combat the illness is information and education."

The House approved the measure in this month, which is also Lupus Awareness Month and just before May 10, which National Lupus Awareness Day, Hwang said. 

The measure now heads to the State Senate for action there. The session of the Connecticut General Assembly concludes at midnight on June 8, 2011.

How Does Your Garden Grow?: Trumbull's Community Gardens will be spruce up this month with the help of several local businesses and an international E-Rotary Club.

On May 12 and May 20, the  and the Trumbull Parks Department, assisted by and Sun Products employees will upgrade the Abrahams Park 30-year old community gardens. 

“A community garden is a great way to bring community together, and to teach children and families about the health and environmental benefits of ‘growing’ your own food,” said Pam Georgas, Chairwoman of the Trumbull Nature Commission.

Sponsors Unilever and Sun Products will engage their employees in the installation of split rail fencing and planting raspberry bushes around the 60 family-plot community garden. The fencing will provide a safe place for young children to explore the area while their families tend to their gardens. The raspberry bushes will protect the garden plants from deer, and provide a healthy snack for community families and local wildlife, according to a press release.

“We are delighted to volunteer and be part of a community event that brings neighbors together and demonstrates environmental stewardship, said Craig Slavtcheff, SVP Research & Development, Sun Products.  “Community gardening provides fresh produce and social interaction, while also beautifying the neighborhood.” 

Also, the e-Rotary club of District 7890 is sponsoring the TNAC ‘Little Green Thumb Ambassadors’ garden, to be created at the community gardens on May 20.  Master Gardener Thu Tran leads the educational gardening programs for children ages 4-6 and their parents, the release states.

Other community partners for this project include Benedicts Home & Garden, Home Depot in  Bridgeport, Home Depot in Trumbull, , , Trader Joes, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County and Whole Foods.

"Trumbull is exceptionally fortunate that so many of our businesses are strong community partners. They are particularly engaged in programs that benefit and strengthen education, the environment, and the town's quality of life," said Deborah Cox, Trumbull’s Economic Development Director.

Fencing will be installed on May 12, and May 20 will be a Planting Celebration Day. All Trumbull Community Garden plot holders and local community gardeners are welcome to join the planting celebration day on May 20, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. A local TNAC Master Gardener instructor will be on hand to answer questions on planting. For more information please contact Pam Georgas at TNAC, 203-452-4421.

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