McCORDSVILLE — Jeff Apple didn’t even wince as the phlebotomist inserted a needle into a vein in his forearm.
She drew his blood, wrapped his arm with a pinch of sterile cotton and gauze, and sent him on his way to an alcove where orange juice and healthy snacks awaited the patients at the third annual Heartbeats Health Fair at the Hancock Wellness Center in McCordsville.
Apple of Greenfield came to the fair at his wife’s insistence, but he admits the annual event — he’s attended every year — is convenient, with several health screenings available in one sitting.
Saturday’s health fair offered more than a dozen free or reduced-cost screenings to those who attended, in addition to games, refreshments and an obstacle course for parents and children who enjoyed the family-friendly event sponsored by Hancock Regional Hospital.
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The event aims to keep people healthy through preventive care, with specialists on hand to administer flu shots, take patients’ blood pressure and perform tests for bone density and other health indicators. Organizers hope to keep residents healthy by tipping them off to conditions or health risks before they worsen.
But the fair wasn’t focused solely on medicine. Health and wellness extends beyond diagnoses to a person’s overall lifestyle, organizers said, so a variety of resource organizations were also invited to set up a booth and spread their message.
Booths from organizations throughout the community, such as Love in the Name of Christ, a clearinghouse for ministries that serve the poor, and Hancock County Senior Services, which aims to keep the county’s aging population independent, crowded the main lobby of the Hancock Wellness Center in McCordsville. Organizers of the fair sought out organizations geared toward families and children in particular because of the large population of young families in the McCordsville area, said Jenn Cox, Hancock Regional Hospital director of marketing.
One organization represented Saturday was Alternatives Inc., which works to prevent domestic violence and help victims of domestic violence.
Rachel Dennis, victim advocate for the organization, said attendance was good for the fair, with a number of passersby stopping at her booth, which offered both informational pamphlets and a game with prizes for youngsters.
However, early birds to the health fair, which started at 7 a.m., were often older citizens and repeat customers who had attended April’s fair and returned for follow-up care, Cox said.
Event organizers aim to market the event as an offshoot of the annual Heartbeats Health Fair held in April at Hancock Regional Hospital in Greenfield.
“We’re hoping this becomes known for being a second opportunity,” she said. “Next April, we’ll be able to say, ‘Hey, come see us at our McCordsville location.’”
More people attended Saturday’s event than the two previous years, Cox said. By 10 a.m., with two hours to go, more than 100 people had registered to undergo tests at the fair, which was the approximate total of people who attended the past two years.
Organizers ramped up marketing efforts for this year’s fair because construction on the new wellness center was completed recently, offering plenty of space for booths and people in a brand new venue, Cox said.
The increased advertising for the event worked for at least one person.
Mary Marshall of Oaklandon came to the fair to have her cholesterol tested after spotting a sign at her doctor’s office promoting the event. She appreciated the short wait and the kindness of the health professionals there, she said.
Though organizers expected a younger audience at the event, they also worked to provide information for aging seniors. Many adults today are caring for both their own children and their elderly parents — the sandwich generation — Cox said, and the hospital wanted some organizations on hand to talk about needs for later in life.
The hospital’s hospice department, for example, offered help creating living wills or advanced directives, said Jeannie Crowe, hospice director.
“I’ve been surprised by how many people say they have older parents,” she said. “I know plenty of people in the older generation came to our health fair in April, but their kids are here (in McCordsville today).”