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LifeLong Medical Care Celebrates 48 Years

LifeLong Medical Care celebrated 48 years of service with its annual gala on Saturday March 23.

The theme was “A Shared Vision,” coalescing staff, partners, and supporters around a vision of accessible quality healthcare for all regardless of income, race, citizenship, or housing situation.

Health care is a right, not a privilege, and that Shared Vision brings us to our exam rooms, our front desks, our offices, computer screens … each day – David B. Vliet

The event at Berkeley’s Claremont Hotel and Spa drew nearly 200 supporters and featured music, food, and furious bidding on art, 49ers memorabilia, overseas vacations, and a guitar autographed by Taylor Swift.

Special recognition went to Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, retiring after 32 years, and the gala also honored Rue Mapp, founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, dedicated to reconnecting African Americans with nature through outdoor recreational activities.

“One of the things I don’t think a lot of people know about me is that this was no smooth path. I have not always had a continuation of healthcare.

Rue Mapp with LifeLong CEO, David B. Vliet

And there have been many times in my life, including around the time that I sat down at my kitchen table and penned a blog called Outdoor Afro, that I didn’t have medical care,” Mapp said in accepting the award.

She added that as an expectant mother and later as a single mother of three, she relied on LifeLong for her family’s healthcare and knew many elders in her circle who did, too.

Mapp’s original blog grew into a non-profit organization based in Oakland that has received national recognition numerous times, including an invitation to the White House that led to her becoming part of the team that informed the launch of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative.

Alameda County Supervisor, Keith Carson

During his tenure on the board of supervisors, Carson has helped move the county toward sustainability, championed programs for the unhoused, and chaired committees promoting economic development and health care access for everyone.

“Supervisor Keith Carson, it’s been an honor and privilege to work with you over the years,” said LifeLong Deputy Director Lucinda Bazile in recognizing him. “You’ve been supportive, always willing to listen to me as mentee or any member of the LifeLong family who needed your assistance or support.”

CEO David B. Vliet noted that in the 48 years since the Gray Panthers started what would become LifeLong Medical Care, the organization has been influenced by numerous economic, social, and political forces.

“But even more than those,” he said, “it has been shaped by individuals who have been at LifeLong, at our sister clinics, and in the community. Health care is a right, not a privilege, and that Shared Vision brings us to our exam rooms, our front desks, our offices, computer screens, and, since 2020, Zoom calls each day. And it is a Shared Vision we are here to celebrate tonight.”

You can learn more about LifeLong Medical Care HERE.