Country Music Superstar Keith Urban Comes to Austin for Feb. 10 Gala Supporting Beyond Batten Disease Foundation

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Keith Urban – among country music’s biggest stars – will perform Feb. 10 in Austin to benefit Beyond Batten Disease Foundation. The foundation's mission is to eradicate Batten disease and prevent hundreds of other serious and often fatal genetic childhood diseases.

Keith Urban will perform at ACL Live at The Moody Theater Feb 10 to benefit Beyond Batten Disease Foundation.

Keith Urban will be a huge draw to help us generate important financial support for the foundation and spotlight its work, which is relevant for everyone planning to have children.

Keith Urban – among country music’s biggest stars and a nominee for CMA’s 2011 Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year awards – will return to Austin for the first time in many years to perform at a Feb. 10 gala benefiting Beyond Batten Disease Foundation. The foundation fights Batten disease and also is working to eradicate hundreds of additional, serious and often fatal, inherited, childhood illnesses.

“Date Night with Keith Urban,” at ACL Live at The Moody Theater, will include a full concert performance by Urban, renowned for blockbuster shows, in Austin’s newest and arguably most spectacular music venue. The evening will begin with a “can’t miss” VIP pre-party attended by a who’s who list of guests from Austin, Dallas and Houston and an interactive auction featuring unique items and experiences.

The foundation is offering a variety of event sponsorship packages including some that provide a meet-and-photo opportunity with the superstar and accommodations at the hip W Hotel next to The Moody Theater (ideal for a memorable Valentine’s Day weekend getaway). Individual tickets, available exclusively through the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation website, go on sale to the public November 21.

Craig and Charlotte Benson of Austin started the foundation in 2008 after their then five-year-old daughter, Christiane, was diagnosed with Batten disease, a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Children born to parents who unknowingly each carry a gene mutation for Batten disease are at risk to inherit the condition which initially causes vision loss and seizures, then progressively impairs cognitive and motor capacities, and ultimately results in death during the late teen years or early 20s. Because Batten disease and so many other similar inherited, childhood diseases are uncommon, there is not much federal funding for research aimed at treatment and prevention.

In its three short years, the foundation has developed the most comprehensive carrier screening test panel for detecting genetic mutations that cause Batten disease and more than 600 other devastating, rare conditions that strike and kill thousands of kids each year. In addition to being so comprehensive, the test will be easy to administer and more economically priced than the cost of an individual test for any one of the diseases on the panel. The scientific and medical communities have heralded the test as a major breakthrough and it has received extensive media and professional journal coverage around the world.

Funds generated by “Date Night” will help the foundation to complete work to bring the test to market in 2012. The foundation plans to use proceeds from sales of the test to become self-sustaining for continuing Batten disease research.

“Keith Urban is one of the greatest entertainers of our day so we are ecstatic to have him join us at this exciting event,” said Shannon Janek, Event Co-Chair. “We expect his participation to boost awareness of Batten disease and the hundreds of other serious, inherited childhood diseases. He will be a huge draw, generating important financial support for the foundation and spotlighting its work, which is relevant for everyone planning to have children.”

According to foundation-funded research, on average, each person carries three genetic mutations that can cause a severe childhood disease or disorder. Carrier parents can even pass these mutations onto children who do not develop a condition. When these children mature and have kids, their children also are at risk of suffering from one of these conditions. Better-known examples of serious, inherited childhood diseases include Tay-Sachs disease, Cystic Fibrosis and Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA. (One in 40 people are carriers for SMA.) A carrier screening strategy similar to the one that the foundation is developing has been used for Tay-Sachs disease and achieved an impressive 90 percent reduction in the incidence among at-risk populations.

About Keith Urban

Among today’s most celebrated country music artists, Keith Urban has been honored with Grammies and Australia’s coveted Aria Award as well as awards from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. New Zealand-born and Australia-raised, Urban moved to Nashville in 1992. His first American album came as a member of The Ranch (1997), followed by an increasingly accomplished series of multi Platinum-selling solo albums: Keith Urban (1999), Golden Road (2002), Be Here (2004), and Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing (2006). The compilation Greatest Hits: 19 Kids (2008) included such No. One hits as “But For The Grace Of God,” “Somebody Like You” (named the top country song of the decade), “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me,” “You’ll Think Of Me,” “Days Go By,” “Making Memories Of Us,” “Better Life,” and “You Look Good In My Shirt.” In his sixth and most recent album, Get Closer, Urban dives deeply into the exploration of love and relationships. For more information, please visit http://www.keithurban.net.

About Beyond Batten Disease Foundation

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation works to cure and prevent Batten disease, a rare, inherited neurological disorder that strikes young children, first causing vision loss and seizures, then cognitive and motor impairment, and ultimately death during the late teen years or early 20s. The foundation raises funds for research and is leading development of an easy and inexpensive, groundbreaking blood test to detect the gene mutations that cause Batten disease as well as 600-plus other rare but serious and often fatal childhood ailments. For more information, visit http://www.beyondbatten.org.

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