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Inaugural health fair held at high school

The local Voyageur Lions Club held the first-ever “Healthy Futures Fair” at Fort Frances High School last Thursday, with the focus being on prevention and early detection of disease.

“It’s important for students to learn about what to watch out for and how to stay healthy,” stressed Carol Ewacha, a club member and retired nurse who spearheaded the event.

“There have been health fairs in the community before, but nothing directed solely towards the students,” she noted.

Ewacha said once she had the idea to go ahead with the “Healthy Futures Fair,” it was easy to get local health groups involved.

Booths offered information on hearing (Ear Clinic Inc.), mental health (Riverside Counselling), nutrition (Valley Diabetes), vision (Lidkea Optometry), exercise (Integrity Fitness), dental health (Northwestern Health Unit), and workplace safety (NCDS).

“I wanted the students to think about their parents and grandparents, and learn how to prevent some of those things,” explained Ewacha, adding that by getting them to think about people they know, it brings it to a personal level.

For example, she said if a student’s family member has dentures, they could learn about ways to take care of their teeth at the “Healthy Futures Fair.”

“They seemed very interested and I think they got a lot out of it,” Ewacha enthused, adding some of the booths had interactive elements, such as answering a question to get a prize or participating in a dental screening.

While the booths were set up in the small gym at Fort High, the event also featured three speakers who offered presentations in the Townshend Theatre.

 Trish Wood, with the Valley Diabetes Education Centre, spoke about nutrition and the prevention of disease, followed by Courtney Koval of Integrity Fitness, who delivered a presentation about exercise and the prevention of disease.

As well, Katie Esselink, from the Northwestern Health Unit, discussed prevention and early detection of cancer.

“It was a good day,” Ewacha remarked. “I think it’s something we will certainly do again, although we might change a few things, such as the focus or presenters.

“We’re just learning, since it’s the first time we’ve done this, but I think it’s a worthwhile event,” she said.

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