March 8, 2003 – About 300 persons, young and old alike, turned out Saturday at Tutu Park Mall to take advantage of free health screenings offered at Health/Cultural Exposition 2003.
The event, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., was sponsored by the Lions and Rotary Clubs of St. Thomas, the St. Thomas East End Medical Center, and the mall.
This was the sixth year for the health fair, which offered hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes and eyesight testing; pediatrics screening; HIV, prostrate and breast examination; and pap smear procedures.
"There's a great need in the community for events such as this," program chair Sandra Daly said. "Our goal is to educate the public and to raise people's awareness of good health practices for their lives."
Daly said the testing offered an opportunity for health-care givers to direct people to get further help in any areas where a need was indicated. For many who turned out, the free screenings were a welcome alternative to costly tests they may not have been able to afford.
Sally Smith-Adams took the opportunity to get several tests including a blood sugar reading and a breast exam. "I'm a little older and I needed to check on these things," she said. "Plus, it was reasonably priced."
Lawrence Sharpe, who also got tested, said he was pleased with the services. "I'm concerned about my health, and this was a good opportunity to get my body checked," he said.
Louis Ible Jr., calypsonian and publisher of Flair Magazine, also was among those tested. "I'm taking advantage of the free opportunity," he said. "It's a good opportunity for people who don't usually have the resources."
Among the volunteers working at the event were 10 University of the Virgin Islands nursing students who handled various tasks including checking blood pressure and directing individuals to the different stations.
Maxine Plaskett, one of the UVI nursing students, said she volunteered for the health fair because it was a good way to give back to the community. She said she felt that the event "will benefit the public and community as a whole. Some people cannot afford to go the doctor, so this is an opportunity to check on their health."
Besides the health screening services, the fair offered free massages in the mall Center Court courtesy of A Touch of Wellness. Representatives of the law firm Tom Bolt & Associates provided information on living wills, and personnel from the USVI Minority Organ/Tissue Transplant Education Program offered information about organ donation.
And to keep everyone's spirits healthy, too, the Burning Blazers steel orchestra from Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School provided musical entertainment.

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