National patient association Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland has announced that Hollywood actress Amy Yasbeck, widow of John Ritter, will visit the UK to speak at the fourth annual Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK, on 19th September, at the University of Leicester. Amy will address an audience of patients, relatives and clinicians about the death of her husband in 2003 from a misdiagnosed Aortic Dissection and how the genetics of this condition affected his family.

Amy Yasbeck is best-known in the UK for playing Elizabeth Stuckey alongside Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and for her role as Maid Marian in Mel Brook’s comedy spoof Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Her late husband, John Ritter, remains a much-loved American actor, who featured in The Waltons and played the starring role of Jack Tripper for eight seasons in the US TV series Three’s Company. He also starred as the surrogate father of a rebellious little boy who wrought havoc on the family in the movies Problem Child and Problem Child 2. John died of a misdiagnosed Aortic Dissection on September 11th 2003 and his wife Amy established the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health in his memory.

Robin Hood
Amy Yasbeck
Pretty Woman

Speaking about her forthcoming UK visit, Amy said: “I’m very excited to be visiting the UK for Aortic Dissection Awareness Day. I look forward to seeing everybody there and to helping raise awareness of this life-threatening disease.”

Making the announcement today, Mr. Gareth Owens, Chair of Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland and an Aortic Dissection survivor himself, said: “Amy’s vision and initiative in founding the world’s largest Aortic charity, in memory of John Ritter, are truly inspirational. I am delighted that she has accepted our invitation to visit the UK in order to help us raise awareness of the problem of Aortic Dissection, which currently kills more people each year in the UK than Road Traffic Accidents.”

Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK takes place on 19th September – a date established as global Aortic Dissection Awareness Day by the worldwide movement that is increasing awareness of this life-threatening disease. Over 20 countries are expected to host an Aortic Dissection Awareness event this year. With 180 delegates, the UK event in Leicester is expected to be by far the largest and is the one that Amy and her colleagues from the John Ritter Foundation have chosen to attend. Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK 2019 is an invitation-only event for Aortic Dissection patients, relatives and selected healthcare professionals. More information is available here, and on Twitter #ADADUK19.