April 26, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 17

Health Fair draws a crowd of hundreds

Nolan the Colon, a 30-foot-long, 15-foot-high and 12-foot-wide inflatable colon, covered in polyps and tumors, was the star of Saturday's Health Fair.

Suzanne Ashe
The biennial Petersburg Health Fair was dominated by Nolan the Colon, an inflatable “colon” covered in polyps and tumors that got folks talking about colon health.

This was Nolan the Colon's first visit to Petersburg. The display was on loan by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage, and it travels around the state educating people about colon health.

Visiting surgeon Dr. Eric Llorens Garcia was on hand to give folks tours of the inflatable colon, as well as answer questions about colorectal cancer screening. Cancer survivor Michele Parker also attended the event and answered questions.

“Everyone loves Nolan the Colon,” Garcia said.

The fair, held at the community gym, was attended by hundreds of local residents interested in getting information on a plethora of health-related issues.

During the month of March and April 571 Petersburg residents participated in blood draws to test for a panel of health issues. About half of these participants collected their results during the fair, said Margaret Fleming community education specialist and registered dietitian for the Petersburg Medical Center.

At the fair, Dr. Jennifer Hyer gave a talk about interpreting the lab results to a crowded room of fair attendees.

For those who didn’t make it to the Health Fair to collect their results, they can be picked up at the lab admitting-desk at the Medical Center until May 8. ID is required for pick-up, after which they will be mailed out, Fleming said.

More hands-on vendors offered a wide arrange of screenings for oral cancer, foot and arch-support, blood pressure and blood sugar, and body fat index measurements. Juneau's Dr. John Krehlik provided information on sleep medication options at his booth.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints offered homemade wheat muffins and information on food storage. Airlift Northwest and Guardian Flight offered information on emergent air medical services. FEMA offered plans for home emergency supply kits. And the Humane Association offered information on keeping pets healthy.

“This is the first time I've come to the Health Fair and I've learned a lot,” said Chelsea Berg who attended the event with her mother Shannon Vandervest. “A lot of us that are fisherman don't have health insurance, so this is really good information,” said the 23-year-old cosmetologist and fisherman.

The next Health Fair will be in the spring of 2014.

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