Heroes: You have them, We want them.

Please help us honor our local heroes!  Each year the Santa Cruz County Chapter calls for the community to nominate their heroes for our Annual Heroes Breakfast Awards.  We are currently accepting nominations (ONLINE! :D) and the deadline for nominations is April 10.  Please share your hero’s story with us (capes and masks are, as always, optional)!

Categories Include:
  • Animal Rescue
  • Education
  • Good Samaritan
  • Law Enforcement
  • Lifetime Achievement
  • Medical Professional
  • Military
  • Rescue Professional
  • Workplace
  • Youth (under 21)
    Criteria for Nominations:
  • Nominees must live or work in Santa Cruz County
  • The heroic act does not need to have occurred in Santa Cruz County
  • The heroic act must have occurred after January 1, 2007
  • If you have submitted a nomination form within the last two years and your hero has not been ed to receive an award, he or she is still eligible. Please re-submit your nomination for consideration.

To get you in the mood to nominate a hero, I have totally and without remorse stolen the following ad from the Greater Chicago Chapter.  Oh, how I love their sense of humor.  Also, before I came to Santa Cruz I worked at the RC Chapter directly to their north… so i feel as if they should let me use this ad (Remember, visit www.sccredcross.org to nominate your hero).

Pandemic Flu

“I thought that whole Bird Flu thing was over!?”  you say…

Nope.  The “Bird Flu,” or H5N1 virus is still kicking, especially in Asia.  For those of us whom this terrifies, here is some great news from the L.A. Times.

A magic bullet for pandemic flu?

11:42 AM, February 22, 2009

Public health officials have long warned that there’s no magic bullet to stop another influenza pandemic like the one in 1918 that killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide. Pandemics occur when a new flu strain evolves for which few people have natural immunity. It could take as long as six months to develop and distribute a vaccine, and the virus could kill millions by then.

But today in a study published online in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, scientists say they may have found the magic bullet.

Rather than a vaccine, it’s a monoclonal antibody — a disease-specific, infection-fighting protein made in a laboratory.

Dr. Wayne Marasco, associate professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and Robert C. Liddington, professor and chair of the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, led a team that developed a lab-made antibody that works against a broad range of influenza A viruses and can be made quickly and in large quantities. Tested so far only in mice, it was effective against seasonal flu, the H5N1 avian strain now circulating in Asia and the strain that caused the 1918 pandemic.

Antibodies are the immune system’s response to pathogens. The immune system generates proteins to attach to and neutralize or destroy foreign proteins.

Interest in producing such disease-fighters in the laboratory has waxed and waned since the 1970s. The first therapeutic monoclonal antibody was approved for humans in 1986. Since then, about 20 more have gotten U.S Food and Drug Administration approval, mostly to treat types of cancer or immunological disorders.

The key to the newly identified monoclonal antibody was a pair of discoveries about the fast-mutating, ever-changing flu virus itself. The scientists found a genetically stable target for their antibody in a previously obscure region hidden below the virus’ two main surface proteins. And they found that once an antibody binds to and inactivates this area, the virus cannot change its shape and enter the cell it is attempting to infect.

Humans don’t naturally make antibodies to this region, the scientists said, because the proteins on the surface of the virus act as decoys by constantly mutating and keeping the immune system occupied.

The next step is to test the monoclonal antibody on ferrets, which respond to viral infections in much the same way as humans. Human trials could begin in 18 months.

But ever-cautious health officials stopped short of using the “magic” word.

Monoclonal antibodies are expensive to produce, and for that reason are likely, even if effective, to be used only as a stopgap until more cost-effective vaccines can be developed.

— Mary Engel

And remember, the best way to be calm about any emergency situation is to be prepared!  Here are some Pandemic Flu preparedness facts from the Red Cross.

Spring = Events and TV

It has been ever-so-long since we’ve updated our blog… but my spidey senses (blog stats) tell me that plenty of you have stopped by to see the new blog layout.  Hope you love it.

Here at the chapter, we have events coming out of our ears.  Check it out:

March 2 – Old and New Volunteer Open House (if you’ve been thinking about volunteering, this is your chance to ask all the questions you’ve never been able to ask – no obligation, we promise. Email volunteer@sccredcross.org for more info.)

March 7 – Red Cross Youth Dance @ Live Oak Grange Hall (email kradvanyi@sccredcross.org for info)

March 14 – Free CPR Saturday (Classes in Spanish still available!)

May 9 – the Human Race  – We’re starting a team this year!  You can Join us here.

May 20 – 4th Annual Heroes Breakfast Awards (We’re accepting nominations now!)

In addition to our many upcoming events, we  have some really awesome PSAs hitting the airwaves through the new-fangled magic of the television machine!  You can see our very first completed chapter PSA on our YouTube account.  Our not yet released series of PSAs should be hitting our YouTube and the airwaves (via KION, the CW, Nickelodeon, Food Network, TBS, Comedy Central, Animal Planet and ABC Family) sometime in March and will star 4 of our Youth Club Members.  I have to stay hush-hush about this… but i can tell you it involves animals and unfortunate situations… more to come…

YouTube, WeTube!

With the release of our brand new, top of the line, extra shiny PSA – the American Red Cross, Santa Cruz County bursts into the world of the future by creating our very own YouTube account!

Check us out here: http://www.youtube.com/user/SCCRedCross

Thank you to Impact Media Productions for creating this PSA for us! !

CPR in The Office…

Many of you know that the American Red Cross offers CPR classes to the public.  But, did you know that we will also do private classes for your business, school, church or other group?  It’s true.  For the same amount per person as a class here at the chapter, we will provide CPR for groups up to 12 (per class) at your location (or, if you don’t have the space, you can use ours!).

Which brings me to my point:  Did anyone see The Office on Sunday?  I unfortunately missed it because I had fallen into what I could only assume was a Nacho Cheese Coma (I’m out of football watching shape…).  It was only a few days ago that I learned of the Red Cross mention – and the CPR class of doom…

As a CPR instructor myself, I feel for poor Rose…  This was pretty much the worst CPR class ever… and I’m not just talking about Micheal’s laughably bad hand position.  Should you be interested in a CPR class at YOUR office from OUR chapter, you’ll get an instructor who can handle a room full of people – plus videos and at least one CPR dummy for every 2 students.

BTW… no,  you can’t get the Dummies without a Certified Red Cross Instructor.