1. A friend from last year's VegNews yoga retreat posted on facebook that she was going to be donating blood for the first time, and was nervous. Fortunately, I was able to let her know that when I attempted to donate blood a few months ago, it turned out that all rural areas of Nayarit are in a malaria risk zone, and we aren't allowed to donate blood for a year after returning from there; she confirmed this with the Red Cross and is deferring her plans to donate until December.
As part of that facebook conversation, though, someone posted this article about the ban on gay men donating blood. The lifetime ban was instituted when it wasn't possible to easily and quickly test donations for HIV, so banning the group that was a higher risk for HIV seemed like the most reasonable step. Now, that's no longer the case, but the FDA has refused to change the rules. Check out the Banned4Life organization to sign a petition for the FDA and read about other steps that are being taken to bring awareness and try to change this policy.
2. My cousin's family is participating in Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation's Million Mile Run this month. ALSF was started by a 4-year-old cancer patient to raise funds for cancer research and support for families affected by childhood cancer. Their team has a fundraising page for this project and you can read about other ways to get involved.
3. My friend Christine is spending 2013 fundraising for environmental and human rights issues in the Ecuadorian Amazon through Off the Mat - an organization encouraging yogis to take their philosophy into the world to promote social change. Check out her fundraising page to read about the projects being supported and consider contributing to the cause.