• Special to the Daily Leader
The initial planning for a health fair in Seward County took a couple of years, after all, there had not been one since 2001, but once it was planned – it gained steam and the proof, as they say, “was in the pudding.”
“It started out with conversation back and forth between Steve Hecox at Seward County Community College and me,” said Southwest Medical Center Public Relations Director Nancy Kletecka. “We both wanted to have a health fair again here. We soon added Elizabeth Irby from Seward County Health Department to our discussions and finally took the first step into actually planning one and forming a committee.”
The result of this process was the very first Fall Into Health Fair, which took place at Seward County Community College in October 2009.
“The health fairs in the past had around 20 some booths and approximately 200 people attended,” Kletecka said. “In 2009, we had 64 booths and almost 600 people.”
What was the reason for the difference in attendance?
“It was our sponsors,” Kletecka said. “Many health fairs are funded either by their local government entities or through sponsorships. We had a number of businesses and organizations who generously donated money last year to make this happen.”
The Fall Into Health Fair Committee is looking for sponsorships again this year.
“Last year we were able to raise enough money in order to offer the normally more than $700 testing at $35 per individual,” Kletecka said. “We would really like to make this free for anyone who wants the testing done; however, we can’t do that unless we are able to secure enough sponsorship money. We have had businesses donate, individuals, organizations… and the amount they donate varies. No amount is considered too small.”
Sponsorship does always mean cash either.
“The donation of cash is very important,” Kletecka said. “However, some people may want to donate by giving items we will need such as paper, pens, bags, etc. Some may not be able to donate cash or items but want to volunteer their time.”
Why is the health fair important?
“Taking care of your health is very important,” Kletecka said. “Especially in these economic times one of the best investments you can make is in yourself. We actually did have several people last year who needed, and were referred on, for further testing by their physicians.”
Organizers have a lot of activities planned for this year’s event.
“We will once again have the 5K Walk or Run hosted by Liberal Parks and Rec, guest speakers, demonstrations and Seward County Health Department will have flu shots this year,” Kletecka said. “We will also be providing a free daycare hosted by Head Start again for attendees of the fair. Of course we will still have the battery of tests done by the hospital’s lab, as well as breast exams, bone density exams, hearing and vision testing by the Heartland Lions Eye Bank and a lot more.”
There will be some new additions for the Fall Into Health Fair 2010.
“This year we will have transportation for those attending who have to park far away from the Activity Center and have a hard time walking,” Kletecka said. “And there are several other things we are still in the planning stages on such as a video we are working on with Epic Touch that will require community involvement – ‘My Life In Three Words.’ This video is centered towards cancer survivors, but anyone will be allowed to take part. We are focusing it on Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the hospital’s Think Pink program, which is also in October.”
Kletecka said they are in need of more sponsors and booths, and of course, participants are vital.
“Our health is our ‘everything,’” Kletecka said. “Whether you are a child, a teenager or an adult – good health enables us to perform the daily functions of life. No matter who you are, good health means the world. It is the difference between being able to go to work every day to earn a living, the difference in being able to enjoy extracurricular activities, the difference in being able to spend quality time with family and friends, and to be able to achieve our goals in life. I would say our health is the greatest asset we have. It enables us to fulfill our dreams and goals in life. When you have poor health - when illness strikes, it can become an obstacle to making dreams come true. By attending a health fair and being tested, you are taking proactive steps to make sure you are in the best health possible. If something is caught early enough it can have a much more positive and healthy outcome.”
This year’s Fall Into Health Fair is planned for Oct. 23 at Seward County Activity Center. If you would like to be a sponsor for this event, would like a booth, or need more information on it or the Think Pink program, contact Nancy Kletecka at 629-6335 or via e-mail at