From The Item
More than 200 people came out to the Sumter Rotary Club health fair Thursday, but vendors and organizers alike wish it had been even more.
“It’s been great,” said Travis McIntosh, president of Sumter Rotary Club and one of the event’s directors. “We’ve had a good turnout. I think people still didn’t know it was for all ages.”
Called “A Family Affair,” the event aimed to offer services for young children, the elderly and anyone in between.
Alex Getz, a member of Central Carolina Technical College’s Student Nurses Association, was checking blood pressures.
“It’s going good, I think,” she said during the fair. “We’re helping a lot of people. It’s not as many as we’d like at a free thing like this, but it’s been all right.”
If someone’s blood pressure was in the normal range, Getz told them to “keep up the good work.” If it was high, she talked to them about the dangers of hypertension and gave them pamphlets with more information.
Massage therapy students from CCTC were also on hand to give free massages. Lauren Wilson and Sarah Cottone said they were meeting a lot of people and getting a lot of practice.
Dr. Tim Garrity with Live Oak Aesthetic and Family Dentistry was giving oral cancer screenings by looking for ulcers on the soft tissues of the tongue and cheeks.
“I hadn’t seen anything, thank goodness,” he said Thursday. “You never want to find cancer, but you have to check. I’m also hoping to help dispel the myth that you have to drink or smoke to get mouth cancers.”
Education was the aim of many vendors.
Mary “Lisa” Canty, a health literacy coordinator for Care Reach, talked to children and their families about asthma.
“A lot of the children in our program are asthmatic,” she said. “We help them understand what it is, how to use the medicine prescribed and making sure they use it correctly.”
She had inhalers and a nebulizer at her station to help her demonstrate.
Care Reach is a program of The Tuomey Foundation that works with school nurses in Sumter and Lee counties to get children the medical attention they need regardless of their families’ ability to pay.
Other vendors, such as SC Thrive, offered information on services provided by their organizations. A nonprofit, SC Thrive has a program called the Benefit Bank that helps connect people with resources to overcome barriers to health care, said Kendra Mallett-Brunson; the group has about 400 active sites across the state.
Other groups, such as Department of Health and Environmental Control, provided vaccinations.
“It’s been really good,” said Linda Johnson, region health director. “We’re offering immunizations as well as information on WIC and preventive health care. I wish there was more foot traffic, but it’s still early in the flu season.”
She also shared information about the services offered daily at the local health department.
This was the first health fair the Sumter Rotary Club has provided, and it was funded by a Rotary Foundation grant administered by Rotary District 7770. The civic service organization partnered with Coastal Plain Rural Health Network to host the event.