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Diabetes month ends with health fair

Sharon Mays, left, has her blood pressure checked by Diana Williams, with Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, during a health fair at Ohio University Southern.

Brenda Pierson, of Ironton, waited to have her blood drawn Saturday morning at the Ohio University Southern Mains Rotunda.

On any other day of the week, the rotunda would be filled with students. But Saturday, it was filled with nurses, representatives of health care and health care-related agencies who were waiting to provide information on staying healthy and provide basic health screenings.

“I have diabetes,” Pierson explained “And I want to stay healthy.”

And this was the point of the health fair.

April is National Diabetes Month. The Ironton Lions Club and several other agencies joined together to provide health screenings and information on how to get healthy or stay healthy.

As McGruff, the Crime Dog, compliments of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, circulated around the room, Andie Leffingwell, from The Huntington Kitchen, served up simple and healthy fare that can be easily made at home: fruit dip made from strawberry Jello and Greek yogurt; a veggie dip made from ranch dressing mix and Greek yogurt and a homemade tomato-basil soup. The kitchen not only offered snacks but signups for cooking classes.

Sonya Smith and Gerry Holtzapfel were on hand with information about Community Hospice.

“My husband was in hospice and the wonderful care he got made me want to volunteer,” Holtzapfel said.

Smith not only gave out information, she gave blood. The American Red Cross was there to both hand out information and take donations for the gift of life.

“I like volunteering,” Smith said, “And this is a very caring, very good organization. It does so much for the community.”

Red Cross volunteer Ryan Thorn was happy for Smith’s donation and that of others Saturday.

“The need is constant and the gratification is instant,” Thorn said. “This helps save lives.”

Beltone representatives gave information on hearing aids.

Ironton and Lawrence County health departments were also on hand, as were a number of other area agencies.