Archive for Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fair puts women first, for a change

October 12, 2006

Somewhere in the crowd attending this year's Women's Health Fair, event coordinator Diana Corpstein was hoping there were women who would actually put their health needs first for a change.

The fourth-annual event, which was Sunday, Oct. 8 at Associates in Family Health Care, 712 First Terrace, serves part of the community that often keeps quiet about its health concerns, said Corpstein, a nurse practitioner. And sometimes, silence is unhealthy.

"A lot of times women are the ones that take care of themselves last," Corpstein said.

In the course of remembering checkups and treatments for parents, husbands and children, she said, women sometimes forget their own health.

Women didn't forget about the health fair this year. Corpstein estimated that about 400 women strolled through the booths arrayed at Associates in Family Health Care. This year's event also boasted a larger number of vendors than in previous years.

Corpstein said the event was "just a nice little treat to say, 'We know you're out there. We want you to feel special.'"

At the core of the health fair is a chance for easy access to free medical information and even tests.

Nicole Tripp, a Leavenworth resident who works in medicine, has helped organize a similar health fair in the past but was on the receiving end of the tables this year.

"I think they're a good thing. They're very educational," Tripp said.

And for some, Corpstein said, the event may be the only access to health care they get.

"A lot of people don't have health insurance at all," Corpstein said. "A lot of people get their health screening at the health fair. It's sad, but they do."

And the fun and gifts - not to mention a chocolate fountain - help encourage those who are sometimes timid or uninformed about health problems.

But even those who stay on top of their health sometimes benefit from the exposure to so many fields of health. After receiving results of a potential problem from a bone density test at the fair, Leavenworth resident Sue Wolfe said she planned to schedule more thorough testing with her doctor.

"That was very informative to me, because I probably wouldn't have done anything otherwise," Wolfe said.

Corpstein hopes to expand the event in the future, and for the past four years, has tried to gain one attraction to no avail: a mobile mammography vehicle. The vehicle would allow for onsite breast cancer exams but is difficult to reserve during the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"I'd love to get one of those things donated every year, but we've never been able to," Corpstein said.

Despite the time it takes to organize the event, Corpstein is committed to keeping the event alive and growing. The center's staff and volunteers like KCTV 5 chief meteorologist Katie Horner has been incredible, Corpstein said.

Personally, it's Corpstein's way of saying thank you to Lansing, which she said has treated her well for 45 years.

"At some point you start to realize you need to pay it back," she said. "This is what it became."

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