Valparaiso YMCA and St. Mary Medical Center celebrated their first health fair as partners with free health screenings, medical professionals there to answer questions and a lot of free pens on Saturday morning.
“We’re at the YMCA today to highlight the services we offer at both our Valparaiso Health Center and our hospital in Hobart,” said Karin Woodside, the Community Outreach Specialist for Community Healthcare System's St. Mary Medical Center. “We have experts here on cancer and peripheral vascular disease, bone density, blood pressure and so much more. They’re here to answer any questions and help address any problems you may be having.”
St. Mary Medical Center and the Valparaiso YMCA partnered together last February and since then, both organizations have been dedicated to helping and serving the community as a team.
“We have a lot of programs coming up that we want people to know about,” said Chuck Gutzwiller, the Senior Director of Programs for the YMCA. “There are booths for our summer camps, personal trainers and other general programs we have going on that are really beneficial for the community.”
People of all ages filtered in and out of the fair, talking with professionals, taking handouts on common symptoms, illnesses and programs and learning a great deal about different ailments of which they may have very little knowledge.
“There are new things out there that I’ve never heard of,” said Sara Costello of Valparaiso. “I wasn’t aware of peripheral vascular disease and the treatment they have now. That’s why health fairs like this are so important - they help get the word out.”
“Health fairs like this one help get word out to the community,” said Gina Harris, a Peripheral Vascular Coordinator and registered nurse. “People may be having problems that they don’t realize are problems and will just ignore them.”
Peripheral Vascular Disease is an arterial and venous disease found in the legs. PVD is very common; more than 3 million people are diagnosed each year. Some common symptoms of the disease include: leg, feet and toe pain, aching, cramping and numbness or weakness in the legs, according to Harris.
“It’s very common, but it’s also unheard of,” explained Harris. “We want people to come in, get tested, get treatment and then go on with their lives. That’s why we offer a lot of free screenings to the community so we can catch the problem early.”
All morning, medical professionals greeted patrons with friendly faces and an eagerness to answer any and all questions. People left the fair feeling in the know and confident that their providers and local organizations like the YMCA truly cared for their health and wellness.
“We want to get the word out at these health fairs, but we also want to put a friendly face to providers and programs,” Karin Woodside said. “Events like this one are important because we want people to know that we’re here and we’re ready to serve the Valparaiso and surrounding communities.”