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Bill Kurtis to Host First 'Art of Living Gala' on February 28, 2009

Legendary Broadcaster and Humanitarian Helps Launch Event Honoring Local Boy

CHICAGO, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- John C. Hiatt, President and Founder of the Liam Hiatt Foundation along with his wife, Paula, announced the first annual "Liam Hiatt Art of Living Gala" on February 28, 2009, to be hosted by legendary broadcaster and humanitarian, Bill Kurtis. This Gala represents the first fundraising event for the newly created foundation, named after the Hiatt's eight year old grandson who is living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne). The event at the Hotel Intercontinental O'Hare in Chicago will also help bring awareness to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), the largest non-profit organization in the United States focused on finding a cure for Duchenne.

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Known to Chicago audiences for his years of award-wining broadcast work and to national viewers for his work on A&E's Cold Case Files and American Justice, Mr. Kurtis' is just as recognized for his work with a variety of charities, including public service announcements for the Recording For The Blind and Dyslexic. When asked to host the Gala, Mr. Kurtis did not hesitate to join the Foundation's team immediately. Mr. Kurtis explains, "The Hiatt family represents thousands, if not millions of families around the world who are trying to fund research for all children living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A disease that could easily devastate a family has given this family the energy and passion to live life to the fullest and appreciate every precious moment of every precious day. This event celebrates that philosophy and I am honored to be a part of what I hope becomes a much talked about, annual event in Chicago."

Duchenne, the most common form of childhood muscular dystrophy, is a progressive and fatal muscle disorder affecting boys and young men that causes the loss of muscle function, wheelchair dependency and a decline in respiratory and cardiac function.

The Liam Hiatt Foundation was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Hiatt, Liam's grandparents, along with his maternal grandfather, Dennis S. Joy, and Liam's parents, John C. Hiatt, Jr. and Kristin Hiatt. The Gala has been in the works for many months and the Hiatt's first choice for a host was Mr. Kurtis. "This Gala is a true labor of love for our family and friends, and it is our hope that money raised at this event will help lead to the end of Duchenne. Having an extraordinary reporter like Bill Kurtis is humbling and will hopefully bring Duchenne to the attention of Chicago's generous citizens and urge them to join our fight," said Mr. Hiatt.

John Hiatt, Jr., Liam's father, is a board member of PPMD, which takes a comprehensive approach in the fight against Duchenne - funding research, promoting advocacy, connecting the community, broadening treatment options, and raising awareness. PPMD Founding President and CEO, Pat Furlong, was thrilled that the organization was chosen to be a part of this important new event. Said Mrs. Furlong, "The entire Hiatt family has played an integral role in the success of PPMD, helping to raise thousands of dollars that directly fund critical research that will one day end Duchenne. They do not hesitate to roll up their sleeves and get to work, not only to help their own wonderful son, but all of the children that live with this dreadful disease. Their spirit for living is infectious."

The Liam Hiatt Art of Living Gala is based on the Hiatt family mantra, "The art of living is to live a life well lived." While the evening will explain the impact of Duchenne and the promise of research on the horizon, the goal is for attendees to have fun and celebrate the spirit of family. Guests will be able to participate in a silent auction, live auction, and enjoy first class food and drinks.

To find out more about The Liam Hiatt Art of Living Gala, visit

About PPMD

Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by parents of children with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. The organization's mission is to improve the treatment, quality of life and long-term outlook for all individuals affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy through research, advocacy, education and compassion. PPMD is headquartered in Middletown, Ohio with offices in Fort Lee, New Jersey. For more information, visit

SOURCE Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy
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