- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Experience Virginia’s fabled country life for a good cause this weekend at the FedEx International Polo Classic in The Plains.

Saturday’s match between American and French players will be held at Chetwood Park private estate and benefit the National Rehabilitation Hospital, a nonprofit facility in the District specifically for rehabilitating people who have suffered disabling injuries such as stroke, brain and spinal cord complications, amputation and arthritis.

Robert Hartmann, a vice president for NRH, says the hospital treats 2,200 patients a year with 137 hospital beds, nine of which are reserved for children.

“The type of therapy we provide is very time-intensive and very expensive; many of our patients are on Medicaid and Medicare,” he says. “Strokes, for example, are not relegated to people of a certain age, because we have had 13-year-old patients who have had strokes.”

Mr. Hartmann says the hospital provides “patient care assistance fund for adults and children,” which is why he approached Gina Adams, vice president for government affairs for FedEx, about a polo fundraiser for the hospital.

“It was an easy decision for me,” Ms. Adams says. “FedEx gets asked to get behind a lot of causes, but this event is important to me personally to have our employees and supporters help in this economic climate.”

In addition to the match, guests will be treated to an “Afternoon in the Country” with an under-tent luncheon of French cuisine, with Jack Russell terrier races, horse and hound demonstrations, and a miniature golf course.

French luxury retailer Hermes has provided a $5,000 saddle for auction. Proceeds from the auction and the ticket sales will go directly to the hospital funds.

French Ambassador Pierre Vimont will serve as honorary patron and will be hosting a party prelude at his residence Friday evening.

Tickets to the event are $150 and must be purchased in advance by calling 202/877-1776. For more information, visit www.nrhrehab.org.

Food for thought

Brainfood, a nonprofit group that uses cooking to teach life skills and healthy living to D.C. youths, will hold its annual Brainfood Grill-Off from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the Stephen Decatur House on Lafayette Square.

Teams of amateur chefs will compete to be the grill-off champion, and will be mentored by local culinary stars.

“The Brainfood Grill-Off was inspired by a competition that caps off the graduation celebration for every Brainfood after-school and summer program,” says Paul Dahm, executive director of the organization. “This is an opportunity to bring the Brainfood experience to the local D.C. community while raising vital funding for our programs. Brainfood plays a critical community role by providing a safe and healthy environment in which young people can learn, grow and have fun. But programs like ours require a constant resupply of food, which makes cooking on a budget a daily reality.”

The purchase of a pair of tickets will cover the cost of food supplies for one participant for the entire summer program. Tickets are $75 and available online at www.brain-food.org.

The sky is the limit

The No Limits theater group, the only national theater in the country for deaf children who are learning to speak, will present the original play “Timeless Journey” at the Kennedy Center at 1:30 and 4 p.m. June 20. This is the first time the children will perform at the Kennedy Center.

No Limits, founded in 1996, has been featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” PBS and TLC and was named Best Arts Program in the Country by Parents magazine for its unique methods of teaching oral deaf children.

Tickets to “Timeless Journey” are $25; call 571/633-0770.

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