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Pennington Biomedical launches major fundraising campaign

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BATON ROUGE - The Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation launched its annual Fund for Excellence campaign with a "tasteful" kickoff event that expected to raise the first $50,000.

The "Taste of Pennington" invited attendees to tour the Baton Rouge facility that is one of the most significant health research operations in Louisiana. It focuses on chronic diseases -- in particular, issues and ailments related to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.

On Thursday night, guests were also treated to local libations and an array of foods developed by Pennington nutritionists.

Offerings included beers from Agile Brewing, while Executive Chef Jeremy Coco oversaw the menu. Vintners Tony Lombardi and Manny Frias, along with Brewmaster Keith Primeaux, managed the pouring of wines from the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

Hundreds of people then got a closer look at the work being done at Pennington Biomedical.

"We're very excited to be able to share our story," said John Kerwin, Pennington's executive director. "They'll be able to engage in tours of our laboratories with scientists and see what kind of work we're doing."

The new fundraising campaign aims to reach $650 thousand in total.

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