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Free health screenings appreciated during Walnut Street Community Health Fair

August 13, 2011|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • 12 year old Rhianon Reilly gets fingerprinted by Hagerstown Police Department Officer G.T. Kendle at the annual Community Health Fair held on Saturday.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

Benita Moats has an array of medical issues.

Among them, she said, are orthopedic problems resulting from a car accident, a fused foot and arthritis. Plus, she has concerns about her health in general.

"I am overweight, and I worry about my blood sugars, my blood pressure, cholesterol," she said.

Moats, 48, of Hagerstown, works part time, but does not have health insurance or a doctor. So when her daughter gave her a flier about Walnut Street Community Health Center's eighth annual health fair Saturday, she made it a point to get there.

Free screenings indicated that Moats' blood sugars are normal and her blood pressure is high. Her cholesterol results will come in the mail. But most importantly, Moats said, clinic staff provided her with an opportunity to receive ongoing health care.

"They told me to fill out papers to get a doctor here," she said. "At my age, with my weight, if I can come here, get a doctor and not have to pay too much, that's really great. And everybody here was excellent. Some of the nicest people I've ever met."

Moats was one of around 400 people seeking resources and services at the fair.

Cherie Clippinger, the clinic's quality assurance manager, said Walnut Street staff worked to provide information about local services that patients could access.

"I think there are a lot of services that people in the community are unaware of," she said.

More than 40 vendors participated. Workers at the Healthy Groove van dished up grilled veggies and fruit. Hagerstown Police Department did fingerprinting, and UnitedHealth Group's Dr. Health E. Hound amused children. There were screenings for conditions ranging from depression and anxiety to carpal tunnel to breast cancer.

"People were excited about the free health screenings," Clippinger said. "A lot of people can't afford lab costs and don't have insurance."

Melissa Stanbaugh, 32, of Hagerstown, spoke with representatives from Maryland Coalition of Families for Children's Mental Health about resources to help her support her son Zachary Bolinger, 11, who has an autism spectrum disorder known as PDD. Stanbaugh said finding and obtaining services is challenging.

"I know a lot of people that struggle," she said. "We need things like this more often."

Hollie Green, 34, of Hagerstown, set up a dental appointment for her son Quantae Green, 14. She also signed up for a weekly health group, where she hopes she will receive support to stop smoking. Though she was unsure exactly what to expect from the group, she found hope in the possibilities.

"Anything is better than nothing," Green said. "Maybe (the group) will give me some light, shed some light on a lot of stuff."

Toni Tengeres, 22, of Hagerstown, was out walking with her sister Cheyanne Wilfong, 11, when the two happened upon the fair. Cheyanne was fingerprinted and Tengeres got some information about breast cancer, which she said runs in her family. She also found a resource to help her pay for medication, which appeals to her because she does not have health insurance.

"I think this is great," Tengeres said. "It shows that there are more things that can help you than what you think."

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