Health Notes


June 30, 2006

Free Vials of Life to be given out July 4

The Kiwanis Club of Columbia has volunteered to distribute 2,000 free Vials of Life at its Fourth of July celebration at the Lakefront in Columbia.

Vials of Life are small containers designed to hold personal emergency medical information; they are to be kept on the top shelf of the refrigerator for retrieval by ambulance paramedics or others in the event of an emergency, when the patient is not able to communicate.

Verizon Telecom Pioneers, an industry-related volunteer organization, provides the Vials of Life and an emergency medical information sheet. The vials are assembled by participants in the Arc of Howard County's day program for people with developmental disabilities; Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland has distributed the vials to church and civic groups in Howard County for several years.

Information: Julie Rosenthal, 410-997-3557, Ext. 430.

Benefit planned for pediatric center

Elkridge Furnace Inn will hold its fifth Bastille Day Celebration to benefit the Pediatric Trauma Service of Johns Hopkins Children's Center. The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. July 14.

The event is organized by the restaurant's owner and executive chef, Daniel E. Wecker, two of whose children were treated at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center for a genetic disorder.

The event includes wine, "heavy" hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction and live music, Wecker said. Tickets are $50.

Information: 410-379-9336.

Lung Association offers free `Quit Kit'

The American Lung Association of Maryland is offering a "Quit Kit," a free packet of material to help smokers stop smoking.

The packet includes a booklet of tips for quitting successfully, a summary of nicotine-replacement therapies. Strategies for weight control and a list of local smoking- cessation programs.

To order the packet or find a smoking-cessation group: 800-LUNG-USA, or Freedom From Smoking Online, a free smoking-cessation program, is available at


Breast cancer -- The Center for Breast Care at Howard County General Hospital is to offer a new support program for women with breast cancer. Survivors Offering Support (SOS) matches volunteer breast cancer survivors with newly diagnosed women for support throughout each patient's treatment. The center is recruiting breast cancer survivors to serve as mentors. Volunteers must provide a release from two doctors attesting to their emotional readiness to mentor, and they must attend an SOS training session that includes information on therapeutic listening and communications, diagnosis and treatments, patient advocacy and resources. Mentors must also attend two of four yearly training sessions on breast cancer research and treatment. Tina Beerman, 410-884-4650 or Denise O'Neill, 410-884-4574.

NAMI -- NAMI Howard County is offering three support groups.

A peer-based group for people living with mental illness meets from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia.

A support group for parents and caregivers of children and teenagers with serious emotional or behavioral problems meets from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month in the Patuxent Room of Faulkner Ridge Center, 10598 Marble Fawn Court, Columbia.

A group for family and friends of adults with mental illness meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the Day Room at Harmony Hall Retirement Community, 6336 Cedar Lane, Columbia. The groups are free and are open to non-NAMI members. 410-772-9300.

Breastfeeding support -- La Leche League of Columbia PM will meet at 7 p.m. July 18 at Christ Episcopal Church, 6800 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia. The topic will be "Nutrition and Weaning." Pregnant mothers, as well as infants and toddlers, are welcome. The group offers information, guidance and support at meetings and by phone. 410-864-8080 or 410-461-3423.

Classes, services

Aquatic fitness classes -- Aquatic fitness classes are offered by the Central Maryland Rehabilitation Center at the Howard Community College pool. Sessions are held Monday and Friday afternoons. The cost is $5 a class. 410-312-9000.

Losing weight -- Individualized weight-loss counseling with a registered dietitian is offered by Howard County General Hospital between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the hospital. Appointments, which cost $25 for a half-hour visit, must be scheduled in advance. 410-740-7601.

Send health-related notices to or fax to 410-715-2816.

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