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Annual event helps hundreds learn more about their health


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Looking for signs: Dentist Dr. John Neeb checks Berry Beechboard for signs of oral cancer. Neeb recommended two people have follow-up examinations. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)
Looking for signs: Dentist Dr. John Neeb checks Berry Beechboard for signs of oral cancer. Neeb recommended two people have follow-up examinations. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)

Health-conscious: Rosie Hood of Greenfield blows into a device that checks her lung volume during tests she took at Saturday's Heartbeats Festival. Hood has no insurance through her employer, so the screenings offered at the event gave her an opportunity for an inexpensive checkup. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)
Health-conscious: Rosie Hood of Greenfield blows into a device that checks her lung volume during tests she took at Saturday's Heartbeats Festival. Hood has no insurance through her employer, so the screenings offered at the event gave her an opportunity for an inexpensive checkup. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)

From head to toe: Several things can go wrong with the average foot, as a model (foreground) illustrates. Taking no chances, Mary Frisinger had her foot examined by Stephanie Taylor during Saturday's Heartbeats Festival at Hancock Regional Hospital. More than 700 people attended the 30th annual event, which offered free or inexpensive health screenings. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)
From head to toe: Several things can go wrong with the average foot, as a model (foreground) illustrates. Taking no chances, Mary Frisinger had her foot examined by Stephanie Taylor during Saturday's Heartbeats Festival at Hancock Regional Hospital. More than 700 people attended the 30th annual event, which offered free or inexpensive health screenings. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)


GREENFIELD — Carolyn Oldfather stood in the main lobby at Hancock Regional Hospital Saturday scrutinizing the numbers on the cardiac scan she’d just received at the hospital’s annual health fair.

Seems it was $49 well spent.

The test, which images coronary arteries to measure narrowing of blood vessels, showed she has some buildup in her arteries. The results in no way had her running for the emergency room, but friends joked she might want to start going a little easier on the bacon.

“This is good,” said Oldfather who, as a former basketball coach at Mt. Vernon High School, knows something about the importance of fitness. “This is the first time I’ve seen this, and my doctor might not have ordered this test until I started showing symptoms.”

More than 700 people attended the 30th annual Heartbeats Health Festival on Saturday. The fair offered free or inexpensive health screenings and diagnostic scans, ranging from the cardio scans to tests that measure bone density for osteoporosis analysis. More than 1,700 lab tests alone were run.

Rosie Hood found she will soon be making a trip to the eye doctor based upon the free vision screening provided by the Greenfield Lions Club.

Hood, 39, who said she has no insurance through her job, attended the fair to take advantage of the inexpensive tests.

“I knew the results were not going to be good,” she said of her eye exam. “Now, I know I’ve got to get my butt to the eye doctor.”

Greenfield Lions past president Ed Stoepler said cases like Hood’s were precisely why the Lions and their portable eye-screening machines have been at the fair for the past 10 years.

“The best thing about it is when people come back in and thank us,” Stoepler said. “A lady came in last year and got a screen that indicated she needed to see the doctor. She came in to thank us for that this year.”

Loretta Wells said the fair has become an annual reunion for her and her sisters. Sister Toni Johnson makes the annual trek from her home in Tennessee to have blood work done, returning the results of the $25 test to her physician back home after visiting with her siblings here.

“I took my (blood) chemical profile back to my doctor in Tennessee, and he was impressed with the scope of the test I’d been given here,” she said of past visits. “He told me they didn’t test for all this. They test for a lot more than my insurance allows.”

Nearly three dozen vendors attended the fair as well, many of them dispensing free screenings, exams and information.

Dr. John Neeb of Cornerstone Dental Arts provided oral cancer screenings at his first-ever fair and said he was pleased with the turnout and opportunity to help.

“We’ve found two people that we’ve recommended for a follow-up based upon what we saw with our screening,” he said.

Kevin Minnick, board president of Mental Health Partners of Hancock County, may have had a better pulse on the community’s psyche than other providers.

MHP administered free mental health screenings that may have indicated life isn’t getting any easier in the modern world.

“We haven’t seen that much depression,” Minnick said. “But there has been mild to moderate anxiety and a lot more stress.”

Volunteers said early arrivals began forming outside the hospital entrance at 4:45 a.m. Saturday, and not long after the doors opened the line snaked around the lobby walls and through the corridors.

By mid-morning however, the pre-dawn rush had ebbed and many patients reported little or no waiting from registration to the final poke and prod.

At the end of the line after the phlebotomists and their tourniquets and on the other side of a 12-hour fast prior to blood drawing were volunteers Sue Lawhead and Dee Whitaker, manning the refueling table stocked with granola bars, juice, fruit and pastries.

“We’ve got the best job in the place. Everyone is so happy to see us,” Lawhead said.

“Yeah, we had quite a little spread here,” Whitaker added. “Everyone wants to know whether we have biscuits and gravy in the back.”

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