Naperville resident Laura Varsek has been a LifeSource employee for 18 years, and she’s also a donor.
Varsek celebrated her 100th blood donation July 24 at the LifeSource donor center, 2764 Aurora Ave., Naperville, where she works as a supervisor.
Her first 15 donations were whole blood, but she has since switched to donating blood platelets. That allows her to donate more frequently, and platelets help patients’ blood to clot easier.
She strongly believes in LifeSource’s mission of supporting life and donating blood. Philanthropy is also a family affair for Varsek and her extended family.
“I grew up with my cousins and my parents doing all kinds of charity work,” Varsek says. “Donating blood is easy, painless and convenient way to give back to the community.”
Forging friendships: St. Raphael Hitter’s Camp a big hit
When the St. Raphael Football program hosted its annual Hitter’s Camp last week, it was a hit on many levels. The youth organization invited members of Chicago’s Garfield Park Gators to attend at no charge, and paid to bus the athletes and coaches to Naperville during the four-day event.
“We wanted to help (coach) Tim Hall attract kids to his program as a gang alternative by inviting them to Naperville for the Hitter’s Camp,” said Jim Brown, president of St. Raphael football.
Brown said the relationship started last year when St. Raphael’s invited the Gators to Naperville for an exhibition game. Last week, Hall brought about 30 players from the city to take part in the camp.
“We are building a lasting relationship with the Gators and trying to help Tim do his work, which is so important,” Brown said.
Now that’s a hit.
Set, match: Central No. 1 for volleyball fundraiser
Naperville Central High School ranked No. 1 in the country for its Dig Pink fundraising effort. The students raised a total of $36,400 for The Side-Out Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for breast cancer research through the sport of volleyball.
“I was able to attend Naperville Central’s Dig Pink event, and it was incredible,” said Rick Dunetz, executive director of The Side-Out Foundation. “From the digitized Dig Pink welcome sign outside the school to the hall full of auction items and the packed gym, every moment of this event was just impressive.”
Dunetz said Central coach Jeff Danbom invited him to speak to the girls’ volleyball team before the event.
“It was such an honor to share my story and to teach them facts about the disease that they hadn’t known,” he said. “They were completely committed to both learning and fundraising, and their efforts made a huge impact on the totals raised for Side-Out’s clinical trial for patients with metastatic (stage 4) breast cancer.”
Fans will see pink again this year, as Central earned a set of pink safety pads and net tape for their efforts. Another Dig Pink event is planned for the fall.
Quiet places: Digital magazine founder tells story
Rachel Halpern, editor-in-chief of “Inscription Magazine” and a Naperville North graduate, will discuss teen publishing at 7 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Lisle Library.
Teens will learn about how to get work published and about Halpern’s experience as the founder of a digital magazine.
Growing up, Halpern had dreams of becoming a scientist, a writer and an Olympic athlete. However, she credits a junior high class assignment that involved editing another student’s for her current career.
“I don’t think I would ever have imagined starting my own company or running my own magazine,” Halpern said. “But I think that’s where the dream started — reading a friend’s story and helping her make it better.”
“Inscription Magazine,” which launched in January, publishes diverse science fiction and fantasy stories for teens. All the fiction is available free on the website inscriptionmagazine.com. A new story is published every month.
“Many writers, including teens and adults, struggle to have their work published,” said Mike Monahan, adult programming coordinator for Lisle Library District. “Inscription is an exciting platform for teen writers. We’re lucky to welcome Rachel to the Lisle Library.”
And Halpern is happy to be presenting a program there.
“As a kid, I knew exactly where my favorite authors were on every shelf, and every time I got to go (to the library), I headed there first thing to see if any new books were available,” Halpern said. “As I got older, I realized how incredible libraries are in other ways — as community centers where you can come to learn, to attend events, or just to have a quiet place where no one expects anything of you. I’m happy to give back to libraries any way I can.”
Teens interested in attending Halpern’s program at Lisle Library can register at lislelibrary.org or by contacting Monahan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-971-1675, ext. 1505.
Changing hats: ‘Twilight’ director to introduce new book
Director Chris Weitz, who brought us films like “Twilight: New Moon” and other films like “The Golden Compass” and “American Pie” might just be the producer of the next big thing.
And you can ask him about his latest project when he appears at 7 p.m. Aug. 1 at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville. He will discuss his first novel, “The Young World,” the first book in a planned trilogy with the second installment due July next year. Warner Brothers already has acquired the film rights, with Weitz set to direct and produce the trilogy.
Candace Purdom, who handles publicity for Anderson’s, said that, while all the authors that appear at the store have creative talents, Weitz offer something more.
“With Chris Weitz, we have a proven screenwriter, director and producer who is now trying on another hat as an author,” Purdom said. “We are thrilled to be able to encourage his literary efforts and excited to introduce him to our community of readers. But here’s a guy who knows how to talk to young adults, and he’s accomplished that in his films. So now he has a new avenue to connect with them, and it’s exciting to see.”
Learn more at www.andersonsbookshop.com/event/chris-weitz.Tags: Anderson's Bookshop, community service, LifeSource, Naperville Central, pulse