If you go ...
What: 9Health Fair
When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 30
Where: Sunset Elementary School, 800 W. Seventh St.
• The fair offers Craig residents 18 and older a variety of health screenings. For more information, visit www.9healthfair.org or call local site coordinator Kristi Shepherd at 824-3095.
Kristi Shepherd has gotten her health evaluated every year since 1995.
Although she was first pushed into getting medical tests by her father, she has long since come to appreciate how important a check-up can be, especially when there’s a place to get tested for numerous health concerns all at once for a low cost.
The 9Health Fair, started by 9News in 1980, is such an offering. It returns April 30 to Craig.
The event, which runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sunset Elementary School, is a chance for anyone age 18 and older to get their medical status checked through a variety of screenings.
The available tests check blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer and lung function, among other health matters.
The health fair is offered in more than 100 communities across the state. The Craig portion is sponsored by the Craig Lions Club.
Shepherd, in her seventh year as the local site coordinator, said the fair brings in about 350 to 400 people every year.
“It’s a big social event,” she said. “I see the same people there every year, and they really look forward to it.”
Shepherd said the “preventive” nature is what makes the fair so important to people, with many participants depending on the fair as the only way to receive regular medical updates.
“For a lot of people, it’s the only time they can go to do this because they can’t afford it,” she said.
Shepherd said she has seen people from ages 18 to 95 show up, though the majority of people are 30 and older. She said she would like to see more young adults turn out.
“It’s hard on them financially, but this allows them to get a grip on their health and get some very valuable information,” she said. “We tend to wait until something is serious, and that isn’t a good idea.”
Although screenings aren’t completely free, tests for vision, Body Mass Index and a finger prick glucose evaluation are among the free services. Blood chemistry screening costs $30, while blood count is $15 and a prostate screening is $25. A take-home colon-rectal kit is $20.
A new feature for this year is the vitamin D screening, which costs $40.
“It’s the first new screening we’ve had since we added the blood count four years ago,” Shepherd said.
Anyone who is planning to have blood drawn at the fair is instructed to fast for 12 hours before to ensure accuracy, and to drink plenty of water.
The exception is diabetics, who should not fast and should stay on course with their medication.
Blood screenings are handled by Quest Diagnostics laboratory services, and there will be tests for cholesterol, triglycerides, and functions in the kidneys, liver and thyroid as part of the 30-item analysis.
Shepherd received information about a fluctuation in her thyroid levels after her screening two years ago.
“They call you immediately if they find anything wrong so you can get checked out by a doctor,” she said.
At the local level, Michelle Moore, histologist at The Memorial Hospital, oversees medical coordination.
“I could not do it without her,” Shepherd said. “I wouldn’t do it without her.”
Shepherd said she has a team of about 30 to 40 volunteers who work the fair every year, as well as the senior blood draw at Sunset Meadows II, which will be April 28 with pre-registration April 23.
“They’re very enthusiastic, very involved,” she said.
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