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Pa. health fair can discover disease

March 07, 2009|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- As Brian was leaving the gym Saturday morning, he was thinking of his father.

"They found some issues here with his blood and that led to the discovery of diabetes," said Brian, who asked that his last name not be used to protect his father's identity.

Brian was talking about the Waynesboro Hospital Health Fair held Saturday morning in the new gymnasium at Waynesboro Area Senior High School. His father had his blood tested at the fair two years ago.

His father's condition is not unique.

Pepper Ridella, lab manager at Waynesboro Hospital, said the potential always is there that tests taken at the health fair will identify a potential risk of disease that a person might not be aware of.

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Wanda Crilly, manager of the hospital's birthing facility, said she has worked at every health fair since the first one in 1983.

It's grown over the years, she said.

"Those first few years, we had 300 to 400 people," Crilly said. "Now, there's a constant flow (of people)."

Jessica M. Walter, director of public relations for the hospital, estimated Saturday's attendance at about 2,000.

The gym was full, with patrons stopped at nearly every table at any one time.

"People seem to be more interested in their health today," Crilly said. "They're more interactive with their health-care participants. I like seeing former patients here. It's nice to know that they are interested in their health and that of their children."

The 11 screenings offered Saturday included blood tests and blood pressure, depression, adult and child vision, body fat, hearing and bone density. At one point, a dozen or more people were lined up for bone testing screening.

Other hospital exhibits included cardiac rehabilitation, sleep disorders, stroke, infection control, food and nutrition, surgical services and family birthing services.

Classes on women's health issues, stress and exercise, good eating habits and yoga also were held.

Among the outside agencies with exhibits at the fair were Women in Need, Planned Parenthood, New Hope Al-Anon, The Shook Home, Waynesboro Community Services, Pennsylvania State Police, Waynesboro Police Department, Waynesboro Lions Club and Franklin County Dairy Promotions.

The health fair, which is in its 26th year, costs the hospital about $40,000 to set up and run. Hospital employees handle about two-thirds of the 75 exhibits at the fair each year, said Ken Schur, the hospital's vice president and chief operating officer.

Schur said the fair is Waynesboro's largest community event. Capital BlueCross is a co-sponsor of the fair.

"This is a great thing for Waynesboro," Brian said as he was walking away from the fair with his daughter and 4-year-old twin sons.

"Waynesboro Hospital does a great job," he said. "Mainly, the kids like to come because they get free stuff."

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