March 24, 2006 – Knight Quality Stations general manager Mark Bastin was working on a chalkboard sign when the company's first health fair opened at the MCM Center on Friday at 3 p.m. It was the calmest his day had been.
Even with the demands of organizing a major event like this, Bastin said it's something Knight Quality Stations plans to do every year. "I think it's so important for the community," Bastin said.
The KISS 101.3-FM Family Health and Fitness Fair runs until 8 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the MCM Center on St. Thomas.
The fair includes more than just blood pressure screenings and cholesterol tests normally associated with health fairs: It includes booths from chiropractic centers, spas, and exercise and wellness centers.
"I want it to be conventional as well as what some people might call unconventional," Bastin said. "I want it across the board."
The purpose of including these booths is so fairgoers "can be more pro-active in the health aspect of their life," Bastin said.
He also hopes people of all ages attend the event, which is why he called it a family health fair.
Some booth-hosts inside the MCM Center said they joined the event because of the outreach opportunities it provides.
Linda Ramirez of the Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands said the event's family focus and location – next to Antilles School – meant people from all ages would attend. The DRC focuses on special education work, accessible voting rights and more.
Two rows over, Dr. Susan Diskic of Chiropractic Health Centers said the center chose to participate in the event because "we really believe chiropractic is really about health care." She related a Chinese proverb to the importance of preventative health care: "Don't wait to dig your well when you are thirsty."
Diskic said she also hoped the fair would help dispel a general misconception that chiropractic care is only about low back pain.
A few tables over representatives from the V.I. University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disablities and the Assistive Technology Foundation filled their table with high- and low-tech toys designed to help disabled residents improve their quality of life. The devices included an audio dialer for a telephone: a hands-free computer mouse; Jaws for Windows, which reads computer screens aloud to those with visual impairments; and oversized playing cards and dominoes.
The Assisted Technology Foundation has collaborated with the University of the Virgin Islands and Banco Popular to offer 4 percent fixed-rate loans for assistive devices. Some, like scooters, can cost thousands of dollars.
ATF board member Iselyne Hennessey said, "It's our responsibility to make ourselves available," and the fair was part of that outreach.
Assistant Commissioner of Health Comissiong Clarice looked out from the podium, where she made a short speech, and said, "It really is wonderful to see what is happening here today."
Clarice voiced her concern about the number of people in the Virgin Islands who have hypertension or diabetes. "If we do not have healthy people, we cannot have a healthy community," she said.
Clarice encouraged attendees to ask questions and get as much information as possible.
See the schedule of events for more information about the KISS 101.3-FM Family Health and Fitness Fair.
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