Living

Cary plans health fair for Sept. 21

CARIBOU, Maine — Cary Medical Center will host its 40th annual Health Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Caribou Wellness and Recreation Center on Bennett Drive in Caribou.  

The event, which is the longest-running health fair of its kind in The County, will once again feature free flu shots and a variety of information exhibits and demonstrations.  

Bill Flagg, director of community relations and development at Cary, said the health fair has provided thousands of free flu shots and other health screenings over the past 40 years.

“Who knew when we started this event back in 1979, together with the Cary Medical Center Auxiliary that forty years later we would still be offering the program?” said Flagg, who launched the event during his early years at the hospital. 

“Many people have come to rely on the health fair for their annual flu shot and I am so grateful to the hospital for continuing to support this event.  While the health fair has changed over the years it still draws some 500 people each year and provides some valuable health information, important health screenings and an opportunity for many organizations to engage with the public,” Flagg said.

This year’s event will continue a tradition that began a couple of years ago by asking those who attend the fair to bring along a non-perishable food item.  Bethany Zell, who now coordinates the health fair, said that last year fairgoers produced a significant amount of food to benefit local food pantries and support the work of the Catholic Charities Maine food program.

“People are so generous,” said Zell, who also heads up the hospital’s Healthy You and Pink Aroostook Breast Cancer Support program.  “We know that food insecurity is a big problem here in the County and at this time of year it is so important that people have access to supplies.  We appreciate people taking the time to collect a food item that they are willing to share with others.”

Canned goods, cereals, dry goods, canned soups, crackers, peanut butter, jellies and jams are all examples of non-perishable food items.  The first 50 people to bring a food item will receive a $5 Healthy Heart Buck to use at a mini farmer’s market that will be featured at the health fair.

In addition to free flu shots, there will also be free cholesterol and blood sugar screening, blood pressure checks, as well as multiple information booths at the health fair.  A special type 2 diabetes prevention exhibit will invite people to assess their risk for type 2 diabetes by taking the new diabetes quiz. Cary’s type 2 prevention program was recently recognized by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The year-long program will launch another series later this fall.  

Another exhibit will provide information on safe disposal of medical sharps and will provide free sharps disposal containers while supplies last.  The Caribou Police Department will also host a drug take back at the event. The public is invited to bring expired or unused medications for disposal.

For more information, call the community relations office at Cary, 498-1112.

Submitted by the Community Relations and Development Office of Cary Medical Center.

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