Bradenton to celebrate World Tai Chi Day on April 26

April 22, 2014 

Bradenton celebrates World Tai Chi Day

BRADENTON -- April 26 is World Tai Chi when enthusiasts around the world will be performing tai chi at 10 a.m. their time, like a global stadium fan wave. In Bradenton, the event is set for 10 a.m., of course, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3011 19th Ave. W., Bradenton.

"In the last few years, the recognition that tai chi has received as a health benefit has been amazing," said George Smith, an organizer of the event.

"It's good for so many things like COPD and heart trouble -- it helps improve breathing and the lungs and the heart," he said.

Tai chi also has long been recommended for maintaining and improving balance to prevent falls.

There will be demonstrations of different forms of tai chi at the event, said Smith, including tai chi for arthritis. Onlookers will be invited to try tai chi, too.

"We want people to get up and enjoy it," said Smith.

The event is free. For information about World Tai Chi Day, visit

24-hour boxing marathonto benefit Autism

SARASOTA -- Throw a few punches for a cause at the first Jaco's vs. Autism 24-Hour Boxing and Fitness Marathon at Jaco's Boxing, MMA and Fitness Gym, 5708 Lawton Drive, Sarasota. The event starts at 5 p.m. April 25 and wraps up at 5 p.m. April 26.

The fundraiser marathon is to raise money for the ABA Academy, a school in Sarasota for children with autism between ages three and 15.

ABA Academy opened in August 2013. The school wants to use money raised at the marathon to buy playground equipment, said Shelly Swift, ABA Academy's executive director.

Time slots of 30 minutes are available for $100. Spar with professional boxer Adam Jaco or choose a fitness routine.

Swift said a silent auction is 2-5 p.m. April 26. For those who don't want to put on boxing gloves and climb into the ring, it's OK to attend just to show support, said Swift, plus there will be raffles and refreshments.

Register online at or call 941-740-1545.

Signing class for infants, toddlers begins May 1

SARASOTA -- Apparently, there is a lot of interest in teaching babies sign language -- the Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Sarasota has been fielding calls from parents asking if there are classes.

Erin Bosch, the center's children and families coordinator, said books and shows like "Signing Time: Baby Sign Language" and "ASL for Kids" has been spurring interest among parents of hearing children.

So the center is starting a signing class for infants to children up to age 3 at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays starting May 1 and ending May 29. Each class is $5 and drop-ins are welcome, said Bosch.

"For this class predominantly we did want to target hearing children because we've been getting so many phone calls," said Bosch.

Each class will be built around a theme, like zoo animals and families, with songs, video and stories. Parents go home with handouts -- they need to learn the signs, too -- and can get practice through an online video dictionary.

Classes will be taught at the center, 1750 17th St., Building J, Sarasota. For more information, call 941-366-0260.

Bradenton ophthalmologist earns award of merit

BRADENTON -- The Manatee Chamber of Commerce awarded Bradenton ophthalmologist Harris Silverman with its Champions of Health Care Award for Individual Merit.

Silverman, founding partner of The Eye Associates, was instrumental in starting the Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, which raises and trains guide dogs for the blind.

The school began more than 30 years ago after Silverman talked to a man who had a dream of one day opening a guide dog school. Silverman took on the challenge; on the school's board from day one, he is still on the board today after serving as chairman for nearly 17 years.

"I'm extremely luck to have been able to do this," said Silverman about his long tenure with Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Silverman said the school's program for veterans with PTSD, where a returning veteran from Iraq and Afghanistan is paired with a specially trained service dog for emotional support, is an innovation he is proud of.

Susan Hemmingway, Herald health correspondent, can be reached at

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