Teenager Darius Weems, who suffers from a form of cerebral palsy that claimed the life of his brother, recently visited New Orleans on the first leg of a journey that will take him to Los Angeles and back, visiting almost two dozen cities along the way to assess how the municipalities accommodate Americans who have disabilities.
The product of the journey, which started July 22 and ends with the crew's return to Athens, Ga., in mid-August, will be a documentary by a group of volunteers about what Weems encountered at tourist spots around the West. The project was planned in conjunction with the 15th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Producers plan to release the documentary at film festivals nationwide.
Weems, who has been in a wheelchair for four years, suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a degenerative genetic disease. His brother, Mario, died of the disease at age 19.
The crew funded the trip through fundraisers, private donations and grants. To donate visit www.dariusgoeswest.com or mail to Darius Goes West Project, 135 Pine Tops Court, Athens, GA 30606.
Fitness expert Mackie Shilstone will host a seminar to address how to excel at cycling at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, upstairs from Shilstone's GNC store (2901 Magazine St.).
Shilstone will speak at the seminar as will Dr. Richard Milani, vice chair of the Department of Cardiology at Ochsner Clinic Foundation, and other guests. Topics will include performance training, nutrition and testing for lactic acid management. Shilstone also will give participants copies of his new Performance Fuel Guide.
The seminar and Performance Fuel Guide are free, but participation is limited to 45 people. To reserve your place, call 897-1030, and visit www.mackieshilstone.com for more information.
In conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week, which runs through Saturday, several events have been scheduled locally aimed at increasing awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding information will be on display at LSU OB-GYN Clinic (2020 Gravier St.) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, and a brown-bag lunch presentation, "Breastfeeding in the World," is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. at 1440 Canal St. There will be an Expecting/ New Mother's Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at 1324 Tulane Ave., and Thursday features a streetcar ride, leaving from the corner of Basin and Canal streets, for breastfeeding moms from 10:45 a.m. to noon. On Friday, a breastfeeding tea is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at 143 S. Liberty St. to honor breastfeeding-friendly workplaces. On Saturday, La Leche League will hold a Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lakeside Shopping Center (3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie).
All events except the streetcar ride are free. The ride costs $1.25. For more information, call 988-3702.
Shopping for Hope
The American Cancer Society's 2005 Hope Gala at The Shops At Canal Place (333 Canal St.) from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 20 will feature live and silent auctions, food from New Orleans restaurants and live music. A patron party is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Morton's Steakhouse.
This year, you can bid on auction items online at www.cancerhopegala.org until noon on Aug. 19. Bidding will continue for most of those items at live and silent auctions at the event. Tickets are $100 for the gala or $200-$500 for the patron party and gala and are available at www.cancerhopegala.org or by calling 469-0021.
Prostate Cancer Symposium
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) and Xavier University will present the third annual Louisiana Statewide Prostate Cancer Symposium Aug. 6 at Xavier's Student Center (1 Drexel Drive, Third Floor Ballroom). Registration and a continental breakfast begin at 8:30 a.m. and the program begins at 8:45 p.m.
Dr. Walter Rayford of LSUHC and LSU's Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center will begin the program with an overview of prostate cancer in the state and will be followed by several other speakers and experts. Free PSA tests and glucose, cholesterol and hypertension screenings will be available.
The symposium is free, but registration is recommended. Call 568-2309.
Ann Habisreitinger Barre of the Huntington Learning Center will teach parents how to help their children improve their study skills during the "Study Skills: A Parent's Survival Guide" workshop from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 17 at The Parenting Center at St. Tammany Parish Hospital (1202 S. Tyler St., Covington, 985-898-4000; www.stph.org and www.sthfoundation.org).
Parents interested in the workshop should register by 1 p.m. Aug. 12. Cost is $10 ($5 for Parenting Center members).
Parent advocates can attend a "Substance Exposed Babies and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome" seminar from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 17 in the Parenting Center and learn to cope with a baby's uncontrolled crying and more. The cost is free.
To register or for information, call 985-898-4435.
In an effort to interest minorities in science careers, Tulane and Xavier universities' Center for Bioenvironmental Research (CBR) will host a workshop, "Training Minority Scientists: Exploring Partnerships, Expanding Opportunities," Thursday and Friday, Aug. 4-5 at the Tulane Health Sciences Center (1430 Tulane Ave.), sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.
The two-day workshop is free and open to students. Researchers and program directors will be charged a fee. To register, visit http://cbr.tulane.edu/onr/ or contact Charles Allen at 988-6612.
- Teenager Darius Weems visited New Orleans as part of a disabilities awareness documentary.