Interactive education centers offered at health fair

By Sharee Grazda

Special to The PREVIEW

The 2014 Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair will be offering a new IEC (Interactive Education Center) on Saturday, April 5 from 7 a.m.-noon at the Pagosa Springs High School. Health education is an essential part of 9Health Fairs.

Thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases depend on finding matching donors who can save their lives. On Saturday, April 5, Christina Schnese from the Bone Marrow Donation Recruitment and Education program will be at the Pagosa 9Health Fair.

Christina Schnese is a leukemia survivor and blood stem cell transplant survivor. There were doctors, nurses, hospital staff and an endless list of family and friends who helped Christina through her cancer journey. But above all, there was one person, a beautiful 23-year -old woman named Dianne who decided to donate her blood stem cells to Christina. Since then, Christina started a nonprofit with the goal to increase the bone marrow/blood stem cell registry.

Here are some startling statistics provided by the Bone Marrow Donation Recruitment and Education program:

• Only 2 percent of the U.S. population is on the registry. Europe on average has 65 percent of their population registered.

• If you are Hispanic and need a transplant, you have less than a 9 percent chance of finding a donor.

• If you are African American and need a transplant, you have less than a 7 percent chance of finding a donor.

• If you are Asian and need a transplant, you have less than a 3 percent chance of finding a donor.

• If you are Native American and need a transplant, you have less than 1 percent chance of finding a donor.

The Bone Marrow Donation Recruitment and Education program leads the fight against blood cancer by working with families, communities and organizations to recruit more donors and provide more patients with second chances at life. More than 35,000 donor/recipient matches have been made because of the 3.5 million donors that have been registered. Even with these impressive numbers, more donors are needed.

We are pleased to have Christina Schnese at the Pagosa 9Health Fair this year. Please stop by her table, marked “Bone Marrow Donation, Recruitment and Education.” She will have complete copies of her own story as well as frequently asked questions and, if you qualify, she will take a cheek swab of anyone who wishes to sign up to be a donor. It takes three minutes per person and there is no cost to you. Instead, you could be the giver of the gift of life.

In addition to free interactive education centers at the Pagosa 9Health Fair, there are five low cost blood screenings also provided. The blood chemistry screening ($30) is the most popular of the blood screenings and gives information on blood sugar (glucose), cholesterol, triglycerides, liver, kidney, bone, thyroid and muscle function. There are free vouchers available to Pagosa Springs residents for this screening. Call 731-4248 to see if you qualify for a voucher.

The other blood screenings include blood cell count ($15), vitamin D screening ($40), hemoglobin A1C ($25) and PSA screening ($25) for men only. There is a take-home colon cancer screening kit ($20).

Also offered at the Pagosa 9Health Fair will be free medical screenings including spinal exam, breast exam, hearing, oral cancer, eye, body fat skin fold, bone density, blood pressure and height, weight and BMI. Look for detailed information regarding all of the low cost blood screenings, free medical screenings and other interactive education centers with health information in next week’s SUN.

You should fast 12 hours prior to attending the Pagosa 9Health Fair, drink lots of water, but continue to take your prescribed medications. Diabetics should not fast and you must be 18 years or older to attend the Health Fair.

Only checks and cash are accepted the day of the 9Health Fair, April 5. However, you can use a credit card to register online at Participants should complete their online registration at least 48 hours prior to April 5. For more information about the 9Health Fair or blood chemistry vouchers, you can call 731-4248.