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Hundreds get checked at Robinwood Health Fair

June 23, 2007|by MARIE GILBERT

Debra Kern's health story was one of extremes.

She would go on eating binges, then skip meals to lose weight.

She smoked, stopped cold turkey, then would go back to a pack of cigarettes a day.

"I was making very bad choices," the Hagerstown resident said. "But that's in the past. I've learned to take better care of myself. And I'm doing it the right way."

In an effort to monitor her health, Kern decided to attend the Robinwood Health Fair on Friday, lining up with hundreds of other people a half-hour before the doors opened.

"I thought this would be a great opportunity to ask some questions, have some tests done and see if I'm having any problems," said Kern, 38. "It looks like a lot of other people had the same idea."

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The event, sponsored by Washington County Health System and held at Robinwood Medical Center, was expected to draw more than 1,000 area residents.

This is the second year for the fair, said Richard Ardery, director of marketing for Washington County Hospital.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for the community, and it also gives us a chance to show off the great people who work within the county's health system," Ardery said.

Visitors to the health fair received a screenings worksheet and went from station to station, where they were taken through a variety of tests, all free of charge. Screenings included a body fat analysis, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) risk assessment, blood pressure, osteoporosis, hearing, vision, colon cancer, and stroke and cardiac risk.

Special screenings by appointment were available for hip and knee pain, hand and arm pain, and breast cancer.

Physicians from Robinwood Internal Medicine, Robinwood Family Practice, the Endoscopy Center at Robinwood and Mill Street Family Practice were on hand to review screening results.

One of the physicians, Lawrence Kugler of Mill Street Family Practice, thought the health fair was "a wonderful idea."

"It's a great opportunity for people to have their medical questions answered," Kugler said. "We might also have some potentially serious situations here that need to be identified. So when they complete the screenings, it's great that they can talk with a physician."

The health fair was not just for the adults, said Maureen Theriault, the hospital's public relations director.

Outdoors, children had an opportunity to participate in a bike rodeo and take a close look at a medical evacuation helicopter, ambulance and fire engine.

Speech screening for children also was offered.

The helicopter was a big hit with Eileen Warrington's two children, Ben, 6, and Macie, 4.

"They got to see it land," the Hagerstown resident said. "They were literally screaming, they were so excited."

It also was a family outing for Barbara Subetto and her daughters, Stephanie, 13, and Madeline, 7, of Falling Waters, W.Va.

"We heard about the health fair and thought it would be something neat to do," Subetto said. "Some of the screenings are probably geared more for adults, but we'll see which ones they want to try."

Theriault said organizers were thrilled with Friday's turnout, which probably would be twice the number of people who showed up last year.

"So many people will be helped today," she said. "That's the beauty of this health fair."

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