It's called Happy Wheels, but the ones who get joy out of the new program at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital are the kids, and in a different way, the donors.
The hospital kicked off its Happy Wheels program on Monday, stocking a surgical cart with toys and books and wheeling it around to patients' rooms. Each child receives a toy or book of their choice to keep.
Volunteers staff the cart for its Monday afternoon tour each week, and donations fuel the giveaway. To make a donation: palmettohealthfoundation.org or (803) 434-7275.
LEARN ABOUT DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS
A documentary about the Nobel Peace Prize-winning work of Doctors Without Borders in war-torn countries will be broadcast Monday in nearly 450 movie theaters across the country, including the Regal-Sandhill Stadium 16 in Columbia.
The organization hopes the event will spark discussion about humanitarian crises throughout the world. After the documentary, Elizabeth Vargas of ABC News will moderate a town hall meeting on the subject from the Skirball Center in New York City.
The documentary follows four doctors forced to confront limits to their idealism in the face of overwhelming medical needs in Congo and Liberia.
The event begins at 7:30 p.m.. Regal-Sandhill Stadium 16 is at 450 Town Center Place in the Village at Sandhill in Northeast Richland. Tickets for the documentary and town hall meeting are $12.50.
MORE VACCINE AVAILABLE
Swine flu vaccine is getting a little easier to find, and health officials last week relaxed the restrictions on who should get the nasal mist vaccine.
Supplies of the nasal mist vaccine have stabilized, so now anyone ages 2-49 is approved to get the vaccine. The injectable vaccine remains in short supply and still is limited to high risk groups.
The county health clinics in Lexington and Richland counties all have H1N1 vaccine, available by appointment only. Call (803) 798-1102 in Richland County or (803) 791-3580 in Lexington County to make an appointment.
Some private health care providers also have H1N1 vaccine, either shots or nasal spray. Check with your doctor.
If you don't have a personal physician, try calling Reliant Hospice in Columbia at (803) 798-1102. They are among the private providers listed on a flu vaccine-finder Web site.
Many private providers are charging $18 for the vaccine. The shots and spray are free at public clinics.
FLU SLOWING DOWN
The swine flu outbreak appears to have slowed in South Carolina. Hospitalizations and deaths from the virus have been lower the two most recent weeks of statistics - ending Nov. 21 and Nov. 28 - than any time since early September. There were 28 hospitalizations the first week and 32 in the second, and only one flu-related death was reported in the 14 days.
During the week ending Nov. 28, the number of influenza-like illnesses reported by health care providers dropped to 1.43 percent of all patients. That's below the regional and national numbers but higher than normal for this time of year.
EAT MORE OKRA
You know how South Carolina always ranks near the bottom in good things and near the top in bad things. Well here's another example - and one you can do something about.
A survey reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ranked South Carolina next to last in the number of adults who eat the recommended two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day.
Only 9.3 percent of South Carolinians surveyed said they reach the daily quota of both fruits and vegetables. Only Mississippi ranked worse (8.8 percent), while we're tied with Oklahoma.
This doesn't explain all of South Carolina's health problems, but it contributes to many of them. So eat more fruits and vegetables like your momma used to tell you.
RESOLVE TO RUN
A new event is joining the Columbia calendar - the Resolution Run.
The off-road race on Jan. 2 includes a 10K run on the trails of Sesquicentennial State Park and a 3.5-mile walk on the Firebreak Loop trail. Both races start at 9 a.m.
The event is part of the new five-race Carolina Trail Championship Series staged at Sesqui, Harbison State Forest and Saluda Shoals Park.
Online registration: http://strictlyrunning.com.
BABYSITTING CLASS OFFERED
Palmetto Health Baptist will offer Safe Sitters baby sitting classes 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Dec. 29-30 at Palmetto Health Baptist Auditorium, 1501 Sumter St.
The two-day course, designed for ages 11 to 14, will provide information on child care, basic life-saving techniques, safety precautions and how and when to call for help.
The class costs $50. Information/register: (803) 296-2273.
HOLIDAY VOLUNTEER POSSIBILITY
If you have musical talent and are looking for a way to give back to the community during the holiday season, consider spending a couple of hours playing holiday songs at Palmetto Health Cancer Center.
The center is looking for volunteers to play shifts of one or two hours through Christmas. Small musical combos or choral groups are welcome, and a piano is available. To volunteer: (803) 434-2659,