Community Fun Walk focuses on health options

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Promoting health and having a “medical home” were goals of the second annual Community Fun Walk and Health Fair on Saturday culminating National Health Center Week.

Numerous health organizations were represented at the event with information and give-aways and free food, fruits and vegetables.

There are four community health centers in Lawrence County — Ironton, Coal Grove, Chesapeake and South Point.

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Saturday’s event was at Kemp Family Medical Center in Coal Grove.

Every day this week, each office had some kind of health awareness event. About 100 people signed up early to get a free T-shirt and take a “healthy” walk through Woodland Cemetery with the organizers.

“We walked a mile through the cemetery and back,” said Nancy Lewis, director of the Lawrence County Community Action Organization’s Community Health Centers. “We just wanted to make people aware of getting up and moving and walking for their health.”

Each office, in addition to businesses in Lawrence County and in Ashland, Ky., donated big baskets of gifts and other prizes for drawings.

Inflatables were set up for children to play and a clown and face painter were on hand for the festivities.

The South Point office was cooking vegetables on the grill. They planted a garden at the clinic and some of the patients cooked for the event. One patient baked a zucchini cake.

“The goal was to get the patients involved in the garden,” said Susan Runyon, nurse practitioner.

“America’s Health Centers: Your Health Care Home” was the theme of this year’s national campaign, underscoring the critical importance of access to affordable health care.

A startling 56 million Americans — nearly one in five residents — do not have access to a health care home to address their basic needs, according to a report by the National Association of Community Health Centers.

“Our goal is to make our community aware of the great services offered in your immediate area and to emphasize the need for everyone to have a ‘medical home,’” Lewis said.

Health centers provide care for 16 million Americans, and they never turn anyone away — regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.