Sarah Hughes before adult stem cell therapy (left) at 83 pounds and after (right) at 125 pounds. Hughes was one of three Celltex clients who addressed the FDA at a two-day hearing on the regulation of stem cell therapy in 2016 and will be a special guest at the State of the Union later this month.

Sarah Hughes, a resident of Fulshear, was once planning her own funeral, but now she is planning on being a guest at the State of the Union Address. She spent the first 22-years of her life suffering from systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis until one day she decided to try a life-changing adult stem cell therapy made possible by a Houston-based biotechnology firm, Celltex Therapeutics. At the time of her first stem cell therapy, Sarah had only a few months to live and weighed a mere 83 pounds. Simply speaking took immense energy. After a lifetime in hospitals and years researching the best possible medical treatments and medications available for her condition, Sarah is a new woman. She’s now riding horses, is engaged to be married and will be a special guest of Texas Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22) at the State of the Union address on February 28, 2017, to represent the promise of the 21st Century Cures Act and adult stem cell innovation in Houston.

Sarah is an involved advocate of stem cell therapies especially for those suffering from dysautonomia. She was one of three Celltex clients to address the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September 2016, sharing personal testimony of how stem cell therapy, using adult stem cells isolated, extracted and expanded by Celltex, improved her quality of life beyond expectation. Months later, the 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law, thanks to bipartisan support from elected officials like Congressman Olson, who dedicated his vote in favor of the bill in honor of Sarah.

As one of the first commercial stem cell companies in the United States, Celltex’s laboratory uses proprietary technology, which isolates, multiplies and banks autologous (one’s own) adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in quantities never before possible, to be used for regenerative high-dose adult stem cell therapy. Celltex is registered with the FDA as an HCT/P establishment that multiplies human cells and cellular products. The company operates in a state-of-the-art laboratory compliant with Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) standards as recommended by the FDA for the manufacturing of biological products.

March 27 event will raise funds for scholarships, subsidized programming

From left to right, Jennifer Ramsey, group exercise instructor at Monty Ballard YMCA, Ralph Fluker and Melanie Ellis, past board members for Katy Area YMCAs, and Bill Griffin, current Katy Area YMCA board member, pose after last year’s Spring Golf Classic Tournament.

Fort Bend County, Texas – On March 27, the Fort Bend Family YMCA, T.W. Davis Family YMCA, Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch, and the YMCA at Katy Main Street – all four located in Fort Bend County – will be hosting the 11th Annual YMCA Golf Classic, sponsored by Fort Bend Toyota and Sterling McCall Lexus.

The event will serve as a fundraiser for the YMCA’s Annual Campaign and ultimately provide support for scholarships and subsidized programming.

The YMCA is in the process of rounding up teams and sponsors who will support this charitable event. The deadline for signing up is March 20.

“We are excited to be teaming up once again with an organization that does so much for youth and families in our region,” said Joey Dupuis, a co-sponsor of the event and general manager at Sterling McCall Lexus.

This year, the tournament will be held at Pecan Grove Country Club with a shotgun start at 11:30 a.m.

The Y event will have a best ball scramble format and include several on-course competitions, including the Hit the Green Contest sponsored by Thom Polvogt Insurance Group. It will also include a lunch donated by Swinging Door BBQ and dinner donated by Macaroni Grill. Golfers will enjoy complimentary beverages and snacks during their rounds. And, each golfer will receive a goodie bag that includes a shirt, balls, snacks and more. During the dinner and awards ceremony, golfers can participate in both silent and live auctions.

Supporters already on board include: Fluor, Staff Force, NtheZone Photography, NRG-WA Parish Plant, and Direct Energy.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Annual Support Campaigns of the Fort Bend Family YMCA in Missouri City, the T.W. Davis Family YMCA in Richmond, the Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch, and the YMCA at Katy Main Street. Combined, the campaigns provide scholarships or subsidized programming for more than 7,000 youth, families and individuals in YMCA programs, outreach and memberships.

“With the generosity of those in the community, we can continue to serve our neighbors by providing educational and healthy experiences for all, regardless of a person’s ability to pay,” said Brian Haines, District Executive Director for the YMCA.

For information on available sponsorships or team registration call Connie Stirgus or Brian Haines at 281-392-5055.

Devard Darling, Austin High alum turned NFL player is bringing a 5k family fun run/walk to Sugar Land, 8am, Sunday, February 26, 2017 at the Constellation Field/Sugar Land Skeeters. It’s called the Darling Dash 5k & 1k and it’s a fundraiser benefiting the As One Foundation, which Darling started in honor of his late twin brother, Devaughn, to help young people unlock and unleash their full potential through athletics, education and spiritual enrichment.

Devard Darling

Participants can register online at Donors can sign up online as well. Registration is $40 for adults and $30 for children under 12. Registration forms and payments, made out to the As OneFoundation, can be mailed to 6725 South Fry Road, Suite 700 #296; Katy, TX 77494. Race fees are tax deductible.

The As One Foundation has received a great response from people wanting to volunteer at the Darling Dash on race day. “There’s still more room on our list of sponsors, said As One Executive Director,” Tomia Austin, “Our immediate needs are for cash sponsors and in-kind donors of t-shirts, ice, color printing, banner signage, security, etc.” Darling Dash sponsors to date include: Panera Bread, Operation Hydration, Costco, The Driven, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land and Walmart.

“This Darling Dash 5k is a perfect fit for Sugar Land, said Thompson. “Its family, fun, fitness and a good cause all wrapped up in one.” Darling’s invited NFL friends who will be on hand as special guests for autographs and photos.

The Darling Dash commemorates the 16th anniversary of the death of Darling’s identical twin, Devaughn, who died during spring football practice at FSU. Both twins carry the sickle cell trait, which alone is no real threat to the 8% of Americans born with it annually. But, coupled with physical rigor and lack of hydration, could be fatal – as it was for Devaughn. Themed “Celebrating the Heart of Devaughn Darling”, Darling Dash revenue will help fund the As One Foundation’s efforts to prevent future deaths of young athletes by promoting sickle cell trait awareness through its Operation Hydration Project – an annual training program to prevent sports related deaths by educating the public on the correlation between the sickle cell trait and the lack of hydration.

“Houston has been my home since I was a little boy,” said Darling. “Helping young people brings me joy and I know in my heart this is what Devaughn would want.”

The As One Foundation takes its name from the fact that the doctor had been hearing two hearts beating As One while their mother carried them unaware she was having twins until their birth. Devard lives on to fulfill his and his brother’s shared dream to play professional football and to give back to both their homes – Houston, Texas and their native Bahamas. This dream of giving back was made official when the As One Foundation was established in 2007 as a public charity that annually provides scholarships to FBISD high school seniors through the Devard & Devaughn Darling Scholarship Awards and brings the twins’ love of football to children of the Bahamas every summer through the Devard & Devaughn Darling Football Camps.

For more information on the As One Foundation or the Darling Dash 5k, phone 832-308-9984, email or visit


15+ Bike MS Races down, 300 Members Strong, “Team Carney Men” is the first non-corporate team to raise $1 Million to support Multiple Sclerosis


HOUSTON, TX – FireDisc® founders, Hunter and Griffin Jaggard, are no strangers to perseverance. Raised in Texas by two hard-working parents, they developed a strong work ethic, a passion to help solve problems and never give up. “I can’t” was a foreign notion in the fabric of the Jaggard family. In December of 2002, Griffin Jaggard was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In response, brother and best friend, Hunter Jaggard, rallied in support and “The Carney Men” Bike MS team was formed. 15+ races later, Jaggard is healthy as a horse, and $1M dollars has been raised to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Team Carney Men, is the first non-corporate team to raise $1 Million for the South Central Chapter and just received the Circle of Distinction award from the National MS Society. Their goal is ride the BP MS 150 every year until there is a cure for Griff and the millions of others living with multiple sclerosis.


“In December of 2002, a junior at Texas Tech University, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis,” recalls FireDisc® President and Co- founder, Griffin Jaggard.” “It was one of the toughest times in my life. I did not know what to think and at that time I did not have much knowledge about the disease and its effects.  I was worried and scared. My friends and family shared the same emotions,” Jaggard added.

Not long after the diagnosis, during a Red River Waylon Jennings Tribute concert, Griff’s brother and best friend, Hunter, shared the fact that a Bike MS team had been formed in his honor.  “I was shocked, at a loss for words and so proud to have such a caring brother,” said Jaggard. “I’ll never forget, my brother Hunter told me that we were going to battle this disease head-on and do everything we could to find a cure.” The brother team formed a non-profit, and 15 rides later, “The Carney Men” have raised $1M via Bike MS to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. That wasn’t enough. They took their story on the road and inspired hundreds of others with their story and team strategy.

Team Web Site:


Many people have heard about multiple sclerosis, but do not know much about the nature or effects of this unpredictable disease.

–          Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. MS is typically diagnosed in the “prime of life,” when people are building careers and starting families.

–          Symptoms can include tingling or numbness of body parts; difficulty with speech and walking; blurred or double vision; poor coordination; loss of balance; tremors; and weakness, tightness or spasticity (feelings of stiffness and a wide range of involuntary muscle spasms).

–          Severe cases of MS can result in blindness and partial or complete paralysis. MS may also cause a person to have subtle, “invisible” symptoms, such as pain, extreme fatigue, and cognitive changes such as mood swings, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating.

–          MS is unpredictable. No two cases are the same. Symptoms may appear in any combination, may come and go, and may vary from mild to severe.

–          There are approximately 400,000 Americans living with multiple sclerosis.

–          2.3 million people worldwide are living with MS.

–          MS affects more women than men at a ratio of 3:1.

–          Average age of those diagnosed are between the ages of 20-40, the symptoms of MS have been known to appear in early childhood or long after the age of 60.

Since the inception of the Carney Men, the Jaggard brothers have expanded their humanitarian efforts to include support for local volunteer firemen, Halter, Inc. Bridges to Life, The Center for Hearing and Speech, The National Breast Cancer Foundation, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Lone Survivor Foundation and more.

Jazmin Hosea, Beth Kennedy, RN, and Kyndal Silva

SUGAR LAND—(February 16, 2017) Kyndal was born at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital four weeks early, to a young, first-time mom named Jazmin Hosea. Like many premature babies, Kyndal had a number of serious health issues, and she required an extended stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Houston Methodist Sugar Land.

“Premature birth is the leading cause of death for infants in the U.S.,” said NICU nurse Beth Kennedy. “Because of the seriousness of the issues these babies face, and because they are so small and vulnerable, the NICU can be a scary, intimidating environment for parents – especially for young moms. But Jazmin was here every day for hours, and she worked hard to learn everything she could from the nurses so that she could eventually care for Kyndal herself.”

Thanks to the outstanding care she received, today Kyndal is nearly two years old and is happy and healthy. And as her way of saying thanks, Jazmin is serving as the 2017 Patient Ambassador for Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s March of Dimes Walk for Babies.

The hospital has a team participating in the first-ever Fort Bend Walk for Babies, scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 29 at Constellation Field, 1 Stadium Drive in Sugar Land.

Fort Bend residents are invited to join our team and participate in the 3.2-mile walk to raise funds that support healthy childbirth and babies. Easily sign up at and click on the pink “Join This Team” button on the right. Or, you can donate to our team by clicking on the orange “Donate” button.

“March of Dimes does a fantastic job of working to support healthy lives for newborns,” said Kennedy. “Proceeds from the annual Walk for Babies are used to fund research into understanding premature births and how to prevent them, as well as actually supporting moms like Jazmin – and their families – who are struggling with the stress and difficulty of having a premature baby. Participating in the walk is our way of giving back and working toward reducing or eliminating premature births here in Fort Bend.”

“Kyndal is healthy and active today because of the care and support that Houston Methodist Sugar Land and March of Dimes provided,” said Jazmin. “Participating in the Walk for Babies can help other new moms gain the skills and confidence they need to care for their premature babies and create even more success stories like ours. I encourage everyone to join our team or make a donation today.”

To learn more about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit or our Facebook page at for the latest news, events and information.


FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend to Host Martini Night 
Shown (L to R) are: Lynn Halford, Susie Goff (holding Scooter), Pat Somers, Doug Goff and Peggy Jackson.
Photo courtesy of Sue Lockwood

FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend, an auxiliary volunteer group supporting Child Advocates of Fort Bend, will host its annual Mission and Martinis social in the home of Susie and Doug Goff on Thursday, March 30th at 6pm.

In addition to martinis, hors d-oeuvres and learning about the FRIENDS mission, guests will be treated to a cheese making demonstration and tasting by local expert Ivan Mefford, MD. Following the demonstration, guests can enter a drawing to take home some freshly made cheese.

For further information on FRIENDS, the location and to RSVP for the event, please email Judy Maddison at

About FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend:

FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend is an auxiliary league which helps support a variety of activities benefiting the children served by Child Advocates of Fort Bend and the volunteers who help them. Their Special Needs Fund underwrites the needs of children in the foster care system that other providers are unable to offer – items that most people take for granted. The fund has underwritten backpacks filled with school supplies, summer camp tuition, tutoring, caps and gowns for graduating seniors and computers for college students.


About FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend:

Child Advocates of Fort Bend is a non-profit agency dedicated to providing a voice, healing the hurt and breaking the cycle of child abuse in Fort Bend County. Through its Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASA), Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and more than 200 trained community volunteer advocates – Child Advocates improves the lives of more than 400 children each month.



The “Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER)” were revised and updated October 11, 2015. A major change in the revision now requires all food employees to complete an accredited food handlers training program within 60 days of employment, effective September 16, 2016.

A food handlers course accredited by the Texas Department of State Health Services is being offered by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Fort Bend County. Food Safety: It’s In Your Hands is scheduled for Wednesday, February 22, starting at 9:00 am at the Extension office at1402 Band Road, Rosenberg.

This 2-hour course will now be required for all food service employees to help promote the service of safe food. The certificate is good for 2 years and is valid anywhere in the State of Texas. The course is a basic overview of food safety practices that are necessary to ensure that safe food is served at your establishment. Practices discussed include good personal hygiene, cross contamination, and time and temperature abuse.
To register for the course, call Joy at the Extension office at 281-342-3034. Registration can also be done in-person the day of the course. The cost is $20.00 per person (check or money order only) and must be paid in full before the course begins.

Individual with disabilities who require auxiliary aide service or accommodation in order to participate in the event are encouraged to contact our office within 5 working days prior to the program. Educational programs of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, national origin or genetic information or veteran status.

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Dr. Karl Vega-Lelkes, orthopedic spine surgeon

SUGAR LAND — (February 16, 2017) Most healthy adults will experience back or neck pain at some point in their lives. Whether you’re young or old, back and neck pain can be debilitating. And it’s no wonder, your neck and back work to give strength to your movements and hold up half of your weight day in and day out. The spine is a complex structure with more than 33 vertebrae that form the flexible column running from skull to tailbone; between each is a cushiony disc, and holding everything together is a web of ligaments and muscles.

“With all of these different parts in the spine, there’s a lot that can go wrong,” said Dr. Karl Vega-Lelkes, a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon at the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Neuroscience & Spine Center.


Back ailments can stem from a variety of sources, including heavy lifting, improper sports or exercise techniques, sitting hunched over a desk or being overweight. Conditions such as a herniated disc, muscle spasms, arthritis and scoliosis can also contribute to back pain. Depending on the source of your back problem, you may experience acute pain (lasting a few weeks) or chronic pain (lasting for months or years).

“Since most people end up experiencing back pain, one of the best things we can recommend is prevention,” Vega-Lelkes said. Some of the steps you can take to prevent back and neck pain include:

  • Maintaining good posture
  • Strengthening muscles in your legs, back and abdomen
  • Lifting objects with your legs, not your back
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Wearing supportive shoes


If you’re experiencing mild back or neck pain, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen may help, along with applying an ice pack and alternating with a heating pad. Whether your pain is intense or a slight throbbing, it’s important to seek a treatment option that’s right for you.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Karl Vega-Lelkes, visit for easy online schedule or call our Neuroscience & Spine Center at 281.274.7979.


Join us on Wednesday, April 19 at 6 p.m. at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Brazos Pavilion Conference Center.  Whether you’ve had back and/or neck pain for a few days or several long years, we are here to help. Dr. Karl Vega-Lelkes will present the latest information on less invasive treatment options and address any questions you may have.  Registration is required.  Register online at or call 281.274.7500.


Relay For Life is community event benefiting the American Cancer Society and is the largest national fundraising event to end cancer. At Relay For Life we Celebrate the survivors, Remember loved ones lost, and Fight Back against the disease.

This year Relay for Life in Katy will take place next on Saturday, April 1st 4pm-12am at Katy City Park. Each year there is a theme and as the event falls on April Fool’s Day this year, it is appropriately themed… “Let’s Make A Fool Out of Cancer”. We would love for you to get involved and help us reach our goal!

For more information about Relay For Life, I invite you to visit our website

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced today that DPS Troopers – with the support of the DPS Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) program, the Texas Rangers and DPS Special Agents – rescued 76 missing, exploited or at-risk children and initiated 42 related criminal investigations in 2016.

“Children who go missing, who are abused or at-risk of being abused don’t always make an outcry for help when they encounter an officer,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “For this reason, the department’s IPC program is an indispensable tool; it has helped law enforcement across Texas, the nation and internationally to protect vulnerable victims, and ensure the criminals who target children face the full force of the law.”

The IPC program was implemented in 2009 to teach law enforcement officers how to recognize indicators of endangered children who do not actively seek out help or exhibit obvious signs of abuse. As a result of receiving this specialized and targeted training, law enforcement officers can more readily identify and rescue children and arrest suspects.

As part of the 2016 totals, 19 children were rescued and 11 DPS IPC investigations were initiated in December alone. Additionally, DPS Victim Services counselors also provided emotional support and referrals to other resources to 181 of the rescued children and family members last year.

The 42 criminal investigations initiated in 2016 focused on various alleged crimes, including:

  • 20 cases of sexual assault of a child;
  • 10 cases of possession of child pornography;
  • Two cases of human trafficking;
  • Two cases of indecency with a child; and
  • Three cases of potential registered sex offender non-compliance.

Since the program’s inception, DPS has initiated more than 100 criminal investigations, and rescued more than 250 children as a result of this training. DPS partners with various law enforcement, victim services and Child Protective Services agencies to provide IPC training. To date, DPS has provided IPC training to its own officers as well as more than 6,500 other law enforcement and child protective service professionals in Texas, across the country and internationally. This training has also assisted other agencies in implementing similar programs within their own jurisdictions.