BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation (MFRF) will celebrate its 15th anniversary with “An Evening of Sweetness & Laughter” on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 2:30 PM at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The event will include a matinee show featuring American political satire group The Capitol Steps; a “See the Light” Awards Ceremony honoring three leaders of the fight against children’s genetic diseases of the brain; as well as dinner and dessert.
“An Evening of Sweetness & Laughter” and its prestigious “See the Light” Awards Ceremony will recognize three individuals from academic institutions throughout Florida, who have led critical initiatives dedicated to the caring and curing of children’s genetic diseases of the brain. The honorees are:
· Dr. Thomas J. Conlon: Director, Powell Gene Therapy Center Toxicology Core, University of Florida College of Medicine;
· Dr. Marlaine Smith: Dean, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University; and
· Dr. Ora Strickland: Dean, Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University.
Dr. Conlon is renowned for ensuring the safety of Gene therapy as the final approval before clinical trials. Due to the diligence of his toxicology team, a major safety risk was averted which in turn increases the probability of successful upcoming clinical trials with affected children. Additionally, Drs. Smith and Strickland currently head innovative nursing school programs at their respective universities and have partnered with The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation for the education and care portion of its mission.
“This year’s honorees each individually speaks to the importance of both research and education as we as we converge on finding a cure for Tay-Sachs and other children’s genetic diseases,” said Kevin Romer, president of The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation.
The event will also serve as an opportunity to introduce a new Nursing Pilot program developed with The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation, Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University. As part of the pilot program in Palm Beach County and Dade County, nursing students will be placed in homes, where they will assist families with affected children. The nursing students will help the families with care plans and support as part of their clinical training.
“There continues to be a shortage of nurses within in-home care,” added Romer. “For those families dealing with the medical and emotional strains that caring for a child with a genetic disease brings, having a nurse with the right training and compassion in the home just a few hours a week can be life changing.”
Traditionally, the event’s “Sweetness and Laughter” theme, which will be delivered by The Capitol Steps and their latest “Fiscal Shades of Gray” satire show, symbolizes how laughter is an important way of coping with the devastating impact of genetic diseases of the brain on these sweet children and their families.