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Health events calendar

'AN EVENING WITH THE GAMECOCKS'

Children with cancer can help University of South Carolina players prepare for their bowl game Thursday at "An Evening with the Gamecocks."

The annual event gets USC football players and children with cancer together for dinner, autograph signings and photo opportunities. The event runs 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday at The Zone at Williams-Brice Stadium. Families check in from 5-6 p.m. Players arrive around 6:15 p.m. Children fighting cancer and their families are welcome.

Information: (803) 254-5996.

PEDIATRIC WEB SITE FOR PARENTS

In a sea of conflicting and confusing health information, parents often turn to their family pediatrician for advice.

Now, in a virtual extension of the pediatrician's office, the American Academy of Pediatrics is bringing pediatrician-approved health information to the Internet at http://HealthyChildren.org.

The Web site, backed by 60,000 pediatricians, offers guidance for parents and caregivers, along with interactive tools and personalized content.

NASAL MIST VACCINES 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) 576-2886 in Lexington County to set up an appointment.

Some private healthcare providers also have H1N1 vaccine, either shots or nasal spray. Check with your doctor or pharmacy. Local Walgreens and CVS stores have advertised having vaccine available.

Among the other providers are Reliant Hospice in Columbia at (803) 798-1102 and Planned Parenthood Health Systems at 2712 Middleburg Drive, Suite 107 (803) 256-4908.

Many private providers are charging $18 for the vaccine. The shots and spray are free at public clinics.

LEXINGTON EARNS AWARD

Lexington Medical Center's Inpatient Services Department has won a 2009 Summit Award from Press Ganey for sustaining excellence in quality of care and providing the best possible experience for patients and their families.

Press Ganey collects patient, employee and physician perspectives on hospitals. To qualify for the Summit Award, a hospital must rank in the 95th percentile or above for a minimum of three consecutive years. Lexington Medical Center averaged 98 percent for patient satisfaction in inpatient services over the past year. That represents the top 2 percent of hospitals across the country.

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.

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