Health Fair offers exhibits, screenings and peace of mind

June 14, 2008|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN -- Jim Constable knows the damage of indulgent, careless eating.

Eight months ago, it landed him in the hospital.

Diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes and in need of shedding about 50 pounds, doctors ordered him to change his diet, as well as his couch-potato lifestyle.

Today, he's a new man.

He's ditched fast food for healthy, home-cooked meals and has become a regular at his local gym.

"I now know the importance of taking care of myself," Constable said. "Unfortunately, I had to learn it the hard way."

At the age of 60, the Hagerstown resident said good health is a constant education.

That's why he attended the Robinwood Health Fair on Saturday.

"I want to keep my mind sharp, my arteries clear and my bones strong," he said. "And I can get all the advice I need right here."


Constable was among nearly 2,000 people who attended the third annual fair, sponsored by Washington County Hospital and held at Robinwood Medical Center.

"It's an opportunity for the public to meet clinicians - some of the superstars of our medical community - and have an important conversation about health," said Richard Ardery, the hospital's director of marketing.

More than 100 doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists and physician assistants volunteered their time Saturday to meet with fair participants, he said.

Last year, Ardery said he met people who had long-standing medical issues and didn't know where to turn for help.

"They were very anxious, and the health fair gave them a chance to talk to doctors who could refer them to appropriate resources," he said. "That's the reason for this fair - to address specific health concerns. That's our mission."

Ardery said this year's fair featured more than 30 screenings for people of all ages, including skin damage assessment, risk for diabetes, blood pressure, glaucoma, hearing, cholesterol, sleep apnea, depression and deep vein thrombosis.

Ardery said there also were a number of screenings specifically for children, including a reflex test, speech therapy and asthma.

One of the popular attractions at the health fair was the Colossal Colon, a 40-foot long educational model of the human colon that children of all ages could crawl through to see examples of healthy tissue and diseases that affect the colon.

Staff members from the Endoscopy Center were on hand to talk about the exhibit and answer questions about colon health.

Among those crawling through the super-sized colon was Kyle Cancilla of Hagerstown.

"My mom works at Robinwood Surgery Center and had told me about this exhibit," he said. "So I was actually curious to see it in person."

After crawling through the huge colon, Cancilla said it was interesting, "but I wouldn't say it made me want to schedule a colonoscopy."

Anna Stup of Hagerstown said she had attended the fair in previous years and thought it was very beneficial.

"I'll be 74 in July, and I want to stay in good health," she said. "I think it's wonderful that you can participate in all these screenings and receive so much information."

Karen Goldstein of Keedysville brought her two children, Madeline, 6, and Nathaniel, 4.

"This is the first time I've attended the event, and I'm very impressed," she said. "I came out to have my cholesterol tested, but I didn't know there were so many children's activities. I would definitely do this again."

Teresa Sales of Hagerstown said she liked the idea of being able to talk to doctors - all under one roof - about a variety of health issues.

"I think this is a great place for people who aren't big on going to see the doctor," she said. "You really get a lot of useful information. I should have brought my husband."

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