The 'giving tree' was a favorite - allowing folks to choose an act of service they could perform for someone else.
Wrangellites check out the many informational booths at this year's health fair.
Story last updated at 4/24/2013 - 2:20 pm
As robins arrive in the spring so, too, do Wrangellites flock to the Nolan Center for Wrangell's annual Health Fair. This year's event saw record numbers of blood screenings performed, including a new test, which measures vitamin D level. The Wrangell Medical Center lab, working with volunteers from the Fire Department and community, drew blood for 13,310 separate tests this year. The lab processed 510 Health Profiles, up from 461 last year, and 330 people had the new vitamin D test. Wrangell Medical Center has offered the $25 reduced-rate screenings at the Health Fair for over 15 years, screenings that cost anywhere from $125.66 (HA1C) to $546.39 (Health Profile) when normally ordered by a doctor.
"I have heard from a number of people that, without the Health Fair, they could not afford to have to these tests done," said Cathy Gross, one of the organizers of the event. "We are also aware that these screenings have been helpful, not only in assisting Wrangellites and their medical providers to plan for care and maintenance of health issues, but even more importantly have been responsible for a number of 'catches,' some of which indicated potentially serious issues, allowing the patient to receive care much sooner than might have otherwise been possible."
In addition to the blood draws, the Health Fair is a clearinghouse of information from around the state and beyond. This year's vendor list included informational booths from the Wrangell Early Childhood Coalition, the Alzheimer's Foundation, Wrangell's largest medical providers (Alaska Island Community Services, Wrangell Medical Center and SEARHC), Southeast Beasts Running Group, Garnet Grit Betties (Wrangell's new roller derby team), and a perennial favorite - the teddy bear clinic (sponsored by AICS). Five different faith groups had booths and the Alaska Injury Prevention Center, who offered free car seats and assistance with fitting them into vehicles, were also among the 60 vendors at this year's fair.
Wrangell's Health Fair rivals those in much larger communities and is known as one of the largest in the state.
"Airlift Northwest enjoys participating in this health fair. There is always a great turnout and it is very much a family oriented day," said Shelly Deering, the Alaska Regional Manager for Airlift Northwest, who participates in a number of health fairs around the state.
One of the most important aspects of the health fair is the opportunity for cooperation between Wrangell's medical providers and other agencies important to the health of Wrangellites.
"It takes a great deal of collaboration in the community to bring quality, integrated care to the residents of Wrangell and the Wrangell Health Fair is an excellent example of that collaboration. Making a difference in the lives of others can truly be a rewarding experience and I believe all of the people involved in the Health Fair were able to do just that," said Borough Manager Tim Rooney, in a note to WMC Interim CEO Marla Sanger after the event.
"It was marvelous to see the community come together, not only to host the event - because it truly is a community effort - but to enjoy learning about health-related subjects in an atmosphere of support, encouragement, and fun," said Sanger.