Annual health fair draws large crowd despite rains

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2003

SYBENE - Pounding rains may have hurt attendance at the annual health fair, but if even one senior was helped, it was a success as far as Lawrence County AARP chapter president Marilyn Grant Howard is concerned.

More than 140 senior citizens from across the county braved the wet weather Wednesday to visit the Multi-Purpose Senior Center in Sybene to take advantage of free flu shots and more than a dozen health screenings.

"Overall, it has been a very good day," Howard said. "We couldn't do it without all the cooperation of the service providers."

Email newsletter signup

In cooperation with King's Daughters Medical Center, Holzer Medical Center and other local health providers, 14 free health screenings were provided along with more than 50 free flu vaccinations.

Screenings that were available included glaucoma, blood/oxygen, hearing, cholesterol and glucose tolerance, pulmonary functions, bone density, muscle testing and accupressure, height and weight, blood pressure, sleep assessment, chiropractic and stress evaluations.

Though the attendance was about half of the 277 that attended last year, Howard said that she heard many success stories from seniors who are now able to go on and receive proper treatment for an illness or condition.

"Many are finding out things they were not aware of," she said. "Many people are also getting some happy news because conditions have improved."

Ironton resident Bernice Melvin, 78, tries to visit the health fair every year. This year she brought her three sisters along as well so that they could take advantage of all the different services and screenings.

"I think this is great. Everyone is getting together," she said. "Each day is so precious. If you can do anything to preserve that, praise the Lord."

Melvin said she knows how important it is to stay healthy. She has not allowed her age to stop her from working seven days a week.

"I just love people. I love life," she said. "Life is truly worth living."

Ollie Conley, a 64-year-old Pedro resident, decided to attend the fair for the first time so he could take a flu shot.

"I take one every year. I haven't had the flu in 10 or 12 years," he said. "I don't want to take a chance."

Other visitors such as Oliver Nicholas of Bradrick attended just for a check-up.

"It kind of reinforces the things that I have learned at the VA hospital," he said. "It is a good service."

Groups such as the Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. took advantage of the opportunity to get more information about the caregiver support program that provides non-income-based respite care, legal services, medical supplies and more to caregivers.