LAKEWOOD RANCH — As East County residents celebrate all things Scottish this weekend, they’ll also have a chance to raise funds for medical research that will impact families affected by several brain-related diagnoses.
MacAllisters Grill & Tavern will host the third annual Scottish St. Andrew’s Festival at 6 p.m. Nov. 19, at Lakewood Ranch Main Street. This year’s event will benefit the Wobbly Feet Foundation.
The free, family-friendly festival includes free beer and scotch sampling and live music by modern/Southern rock band juniperRED and the Jacobites Pipe and Drum Band.
Additional festivities include golf swing analysis, Scottish cupcake decorating and plenty of activities for children, including BounceU activities, balloon artists, face painting, Scottish characters for the children and more. Food and drink also will be available for purchase.
“It will be a lot of fun,” said event co-organizer Karen Ronney, who owns MacAllisters with her husband, Malcolm. “St. Andrews Night is Nov. 30. This (event) is to celebrate all things Scottish, which are golf, scotch and bagpipes. That’s what the festival is all about.
“The whole event is free,” she said. “We’re also looking for people to put their hands in their pockets and (donate) to charity.”
All proceeds from the event benefit the Wobbly Feet Foundation, an East County-based organization that raises funds for finding a cure for a rare, progressive neurological disease called Ataxia Telangiectasia, or A-T. East County residents Nick and Samantha Dzembo founded the organization in late 2009, when their son, Connor, was diagnosed with the condition.
“We’re honored (to be this year’s charity),” Samantha Dzembo said, adding she’s grateful for the support the community already has shown the organization over the last three years. “There are only 500 kids currently diagnosed in the United States with A-T, and less than 1,000 worldwide. It’s considered an orphan disease.”
The Wobbly Feet Foundation currently is funding research on the ATM protein, which will have an impact on treatments for A-T, as well as conditions such as AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer and other diseases, Dzembo said.
“The work we’re doing will actually have benefits for people with Alzheimer’s and (other diseases),” she said. “You might not have a direct connect to A-T, but everyone has a connection to one of those other conditions.”
Dzembo said parents of children affected by A-T have provided 100% of research funding for the condition over the last 15 years because the disease affects so few individuals.
For information on the Wobbly Feet Foundation, visit http://hstrial-wobblyfeetfound0.intuitwebsites.com.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
A-T is a genetic neuromuscular disease that affects several body systems. A-T surfaces when both parents are carriers of a specific genetic mutation and pass it on to their child. It is extremely rare, with only about 500 children in the United States currently living with A-T.
Ataxia causes the degeneration of the cerebellum that leads to a lack of muscle control, which causes slurred speech, wobbliness and eventually confines the patient to a wheelchair.
Telangiectasia appears as red spider veins in the corners of the eyes, on the ears and cheeks.
Children with A-T often have immune system problems that leave them more susceptible to respiratory infections. A-T patients are 1,000 times more likely to develop malignancies of the blood system. Lymphoma and leukemia are common.
Third Annual Scottish St. Andrew’s Festival
WHEN: 6 p.m. Nov. 19
WHERE: Lakewood Ranch Main Street
DETAILS: Festivities include live music, face painting, Scottish cupcake decorating, balloon artists, beer and scotch sampling and more.
BENEFICIARY: Wobbly Feet Foundation
INFO: Facebook.com pages for MacAllisters Grill & Tavern and the Wobbly Feet Foundation