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Lindsay Wildlife Museum volunteer Kris Brady shows off a live gopher snake at the Contra Costa County Libraryís 100th birthday celebration in Pleasant Hill. Assisting is Lindsay director of education Melissa Strongman.

The Red Cross, an organization close to our hearts in every way, has an urgent need for platelets and specific blood type donors this summer, especially types O negative, B negative and A negative blood.

Types A negative and B negative blood can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients. Blood products are being distributed to area hospitals almost as quickly as donations are coming in, so please step up.

Jeff Meyer, CEO for the Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region says, "The summer is historically one of the most difficult times of year for blood and platelet donations. Many donors are still enjoying summer activities, but patients are unable to take a vacation from needing lifesaving transfusions."

Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients and organ transplant patients, as well as those receiving treatment for cancer or sickle cell disease, may depend on lifesaving transfusions each day. They can't afford to wait. Please give blood regularly.

Red Cross SOS

Call 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information.

Central County mobile blood drives are scheduled:

  • United Healthcare Concord -- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 8, fifth floor Conference Room, 2300 Clayton Road, Concord. (Sponsor code: UHC) to schedule an appointment.


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  • Applebee's, Walnut Creek -- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 10, American Red Cross bus, 2819 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek. (Sponsor code: APPLEBEES) to schedule an appointment.

    All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

    High school students and other donors 18 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

    Give a hoot

    Engage your skills and love of the natural world by becoming a Lindsay Wildlife Museum volunteer.

    Learn about the variety of volunteer opportunities like wildlife rehabilitation, animal encounters, or docent training, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Lindsay Wildlife Museum Community Room, 1931 First Ave., in Walnut Creek.

    It is free, and registration is recommended at www.wildlife-museum.org or by calling Kelly Hughes at 925-627-2913.

    Friends of Faith

    Award-winning journalist Faith Fancher was a trail blazer. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, she moved to the Bay Area in 1983 and became a top reporter at KTVU-Channel 2 in Oakland, where she remained until her death in 2003.

    When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, she chose to turn her private battle into a public forum to raise awareness about the disease.

    Friends of Faith, Inc. honors her legacy with the East Bay Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, providing one-time direct cash grants to Bay Area, uninsured women undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

    Grants are designated for food, shelter, utilities and medications, and are administered by the Women's Cancer Resource Center in Oakland.

    The Friends of Faith Breast Cancer Challenge is an annual 5K walk and fun run around Lake Merritt in Oakland, to be held this year from 8:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 17. Support a participant with a financial pledge, form a team, join a team, become a corporate sponsor, purchase raffle tickets, make a donation and enjoy the festivities.

    Emcees for the all-day event include Renel Brooks-Moon "voice of the San Francisco Giants and KIIS-FM air personality" and Mike Sugerman of KCBS News and CBS-5. ABC7 news anchor Dan Ashley and his band PUSH will perform during the pre- and post-walk program.

    Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union of Berkeley has formed a team as one of the sponsors for the 5K walk and also made a generous donation. You can, too! Register at www.faithfancher5k.org or visit www.faithfancher.org.

    Kaiser Mission Vision

    Kaiser Permanente's dedicated and generous optometry and ophthalmology department volunteers, including optometrists, medical assistants, nurses and vision service assistants, recently offered free eye exams and glasses to low-income and uninsured adults and children, referred by local agencies, at the "Mission Vision" event in Martinez.

    "The need is definitely there," said Marianne Balin, community benefit manager for Kaiser Permanente's Diablo Area.

    "I just love helping people," said Veronica Quiris, an optical technician from Kaiser Permanente in Richmond who has volunteered at the event for at least three years.

    To learn more, email Diablo-Area-Community-Benefit@kp.org or visit www.kp.org/communitybenefit/ncal.

    Fresh Aire Affaire

    Enjoy an elegant evening under the stars in the pear orchards of John Muir's Victorian estate from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at the "Fresh Aire Affaire," at the John Muir National Historic Site, 4202 Alhambra Ave. in Martinez.

    The event raises operating funds for this local and national treasure. There will be cocktails, appetizers, a gourmet dinner, music by Bob Athayde and Friends, with master of ceremonies Doug McConnell, former host of the Bay Area Backroads series on KRON public television.

    Cost is $150. Call 925-228-5040 or email angela@muirheritagelandtrust.org for reservations.

    Special needs fair

    The first East Bay Special Needs Family Fun Night and Resource Fair at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek for families that have a child(ren) with special needs, such as Down syndrome or autism, was a great success.

    There were rock-climbing walls, slides, bungee-jump trampolines, a tunnel to explore and large bubble/foam machines to experience among the many activities that were all catered and attended by families. The evening was capped with a movie under the stars.

    Many wonderful volunteers came out to help, like Kohl's "Associates In Action" program, the Los Medanos College Circle K Club, the Lamorinda Rugby Club, the Saint Mary's College women's volleyball team and many more who stepped in and stepped up to make the evening one to remember.

    The Friend Tree Autism Play Center hosted the event in collaboration with the Taylor Family Foundation. The Friend Tree hopes to raise funds to build a play center in the East Bay that will cater to the needs of children, and parents of a special-needs child. They hope to make Fun Night a monthly event.

    More than 30 special needs exhibitors came out to share information and offer their help and services, as the needs in the East Bay continue to rise, especially with the decline in federal and state funding that these families rely on to help with increasing medical and therapy costs.

    For those wishing to help, visit www.TheFriendTree.org.

    Volunteer for tour

    The Martinez Historical Society and Museum is looking for volunteers to help with the Martinez Home Tour to be held Oct. 12. Those interested can contact chairwoman Carolyn Boone Duncan at cfboone@aol.com.

    They are also looking for prospective docents. Would you enjoy learning more about Martinez history and sharing your knowledge with others? Visit www.martinezhistory.org or call 925-228-8160.

    "Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to goodneighbors@bayareanewsgroup.com.