Blair Nielsen recently rganized a 5K Run/Walk and Family Fun Day to benefit Rare Trait Hope Fund, a group dedicated to funding research for an approved treatment for a fatal disease called Aspartylglucosaminuria (AGU).

The day began at Cypress Park: dreary, cloudy and cool for the runners. Hard rain didn’t come until the race was over. Coming in first place was Nicholas LaValla, a sophomore at Belle Chasse High School and a second year cross country and track team member for the school.

He said, “I enjoy running and I wanted to help out.”

His parents are Todd and Mary LaValla of Belle Chasse. Daniel Taravella, who has AGU, said, “This is my best friend. We have a class together.”

Coming in only inches behind was Dominic Lincoln, a freshman at Holy Cross High School. He is the son of Anna Lincoln and Seth Shapard.

More than 150 runners signed up in advance, and more signed up that morning. All of the high schools in the parish participated in a jeans day, in which the schools allowed the students to wear jeans to school if they gave a donation to Rare Trait. The schools collected over $10,000 for research; that was added to the money raised at the Family Fun Day.

Even if you did not run, there was music, games for the children, snacks, a raffle for a fishing trip and a silent auction.

A Charity Auction and Dinner originally planned for May 10 has been delayed until June 21 to have more time to organize. Festivities are at Woodland Plantation from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $100 a person and can be bought in advance by calling 504.408.1126, or e-mail

It includes a marvelous dinner, consisting of seafood gumbo, jambalaya, oysters in bacon, fried fish and shrimp and more. The ticket also allows you access to bid on the auctions, both live and silent.

If you would like to donate an item for the auction, call the above number to arrange for pick-up or drop-off.

Patty Mattison is a Belle Chasse resident who writes about people and events throughout Plaquemines Parish. She can be reached at 504.392.0958 or at

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