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‘That wasn’t a health fair, that was a health carnival!’

Posted: Friday, Mar 29th, 2013

Always a popular attraction at the annual health fair, a Life Flight helicopter lands at the South Lincoln Training and Event Center on Saturday, March 23. GAZETTE PHOTO/Jennifer Haessig

KEMMERER — Over 900 participants took advantage of the many services, activities and abundance of health-related information available at the 25th annual South Lincoln Medical Center health fair, held on Saturday, March 23, at the South Lincoln Training and Event Center.

“That wasn’t just a health fair, that was a health carnival!” one local resident told SLMC CEO/Administrator Eric Boley.

And he wasn’t far off.

From the opportunity to get an up-close look at a Life Flight helicopter to personal consultation with SLMC providers, local residents made good use of the community event, which boasted 116 door prizes from about 75 local and area organizations, both public and private.

Of the 30 or so SLMC staff members that help organize and plan the event, a core group of about 10 is primarily dedicated to the project, which takes up to four months of planning to pull off.

“We try to get [as many] of our providers as we can,” said administrative assistant Kimberly Hunter of the SLMC practitioners local residents are used to seeing.

This was the largest fair to date.

“We used to hold it in the high school, in the commons area — it’s no longer in existence — but we never had anywhere close to 43 booths,” said Boley of the number of attendees they hit this year. “We actually turned vendors away this year.”

“As far as numbers, this is one of our better years,” Boley said. By numbers, he means the 1,016 pre-fair blood draws, 650 of which were picked up the day of the fair. SLMC lab technician John Spratlen was responsible for each and every one.

Those blood draws and associated results are an extremely valuable, SLMC-subsidized service provided at the fair.

“For $55, people are getting tests that would cost $800 or more if they were run through the regular process,” explained Boley. “It’s a really good value for the money, and it is used as a screening tool.”

The blood draw results contain a lot of important information for patients. Included in the results is information about diabetes, cholesterol, PSA levels in men, iron deficiencies and thyroid condition, to name just a few.

“The other thing we had this year, we had Dr. Yasuda there. We had him set up right next to the Wyoming Cancer Resources group from Evanston. For [the] uninsured, they actually have the ability to sign people up and get them insured so they can have screeing colonoscopies. And then we had Huntsman Cancer [Institute] straight across from Dr. Yasuda, and we had at least four or five people that went over and got signed up so they could have preventative tests done. That’s the first time we’ve actually had Dr. Yasuda there and worked with the cancer resources centers.”

The atmosphere this year may have said “carnival” but the substance that makes it a successful, and growing, event from year to year is due not just to SLMC, whose contributions and dedication are obvious, but to the vendors, providers and other professionals who participate and draw the attendance that marks one of the larger, and more serious, annual staples in the community.

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