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Lab tests available at Health Fair

March 09, 2010
By Amanda Breitbach Ragsdale Miles City Star Members of the Community Health Alliance have made several important changes to improve the annual Miles City Community Health Fair, planned for Saturday, March 13, at the Miles Community College Centra. In an effort to increase attendance on the day of the health fair, organizers have changed the program offering discounted lab draws. Lab draws will be offered only at the health fair itself, rather than in the two weeks prior to the event, as it has been done in past years. Lab draws will be offered from 7:30 through 11:30 a.m., and the health fair will be open from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Health fair attendees can choose to be screened for diabetes, liver and kidney function, prostate cancer, thyroid disorders, cholesterol, heart disease, stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal issues, blood counts and anemia. Lab draws during the health fair are available at a discounted cost, ranging from $5 to $20 for different tests. Those interested in testing should fast for 10 hours prior to having blood drawn. The MCC cafeteria will be open for people needing snacks and refreshments after testing. In addition, the fair has been moved to the new location at the Centra to accommodate more booths for vendors and health service providers. “People may not be aware of all the human resources that are out there,” said event organizer Kristi Randall, a marketing assistant at Holy Rosary Healthcare. “There is a plethora of health- and wellness-related services available in our community, and this event puts most of them under one roof and provides the public (the opportunity) to ask questions and get immediate answers.” The Montana Cancer Control Program is sponsoring five speaker sessions during the health fair offering information about cancer, colonoscopies, colorectal cancer screening and radiology. Organizers chose to highlight the dangers of colorectal cancer at this year’s fair because March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Beginning at 8 a.m., Kim Jerke, a registered nurse with the Custer County Health Department and regional coordinator for the Montana Cancer Control Programs, will offer an overview of local assistance programs that provide screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer for men and women who meet eligibility requirements. Jerke said the program covers six counties, including Custer, Carter, Rosebud, Powder River, Treasure and Garfield (Treasure County is not included in the colorectal screening program). “We’re trying to get the message out to everybody that we have these programs,” she added. At 8:15, colorectal cancer survivor Rita McDonald and her husband, Art, of Lame Deer will present “Cancer 101.” At 10:15 a.m., Shannon Holmen, a registered nurse with Dr. Thomas Beeson at Holy Rosary Clinic, will lead a colonoscopy walk-through session. Robyn Hadley, a respiratory therapist at Billings Clinic, will describe “Radiology inside and out” at 10:30, and Cindia Miller, a registered nurse, will outline the reasons to get colorectal cancer screening at 11 a.m. So far, 26 organizations and vendors have reserved booths at the fair, including Miles City Relay for Life, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Miles City Fire and Rescue, Custer County Mental Health Center, Substance Abuse and Dependency Service, CNADA, RSVP, Buckle Up MT, Weight Watchers, Hearing Connection and many others. Representatives of the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force will operate a booth for the Prescription Drug Take-Back program, offering an opportunity for area residents to safely dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs. Attendees will also enjoy performances by local dancers from Studio M and the Miles City Caledonian Society. Entrance to the Miles City Community Health Fair is free. The event is sponsored by the Community Health Alliance, whose members include Holy Rosary Healthcare, Billings Clinic Miles City, Custer County Community Health Center, the Custer County Health Department, and the Miles City VA Primary Care Clinic. “The health fair is a wonderful way for people to learn of all of the health, wellness and public services available to them in our community,” Randall concluded. “Whether you need help with assistance financially, a resource for a disabled family member, or want to learn more about medical procedures available in Miles City, the event has something for everyone. Not to mention it is a great annual reminder to do a routine check-up on your personal health with the discounted lab draw program.” For more information, contact Randall at 233-2604.