Hundreds benefit from free health fair in Westmoreland

Sunday, July 02, 2017

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THE Llandilo School of Special Education was a bustling scene of activities last Wednesday as scores of residents in and around Westmoreland's capital turned up to access services and products being offered at a health fair held on the school grounds.

The fair, which was a partnership between the special education school, the Sandals Foundation, Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple Negril, Food for the Poor, Dr David Garwood, along with other corporate entities and individual donors, benefited more than 650 people.

Residents from all age groups had access to blood pressure and blood sugar testing, temperature and respiratory testing, eye screening and donations of reading glasses, and free medical examinations. Additional benefits included dermatology services, free vital signs check-up, epilepsy consultations, discounted electrocardiogram testing (ECG), full pharmacy services, HIV, syphilis testing and counselling, immunisation, dentistry, life skills seminar, nutrition talks, and giveaways.

The Sandals Foundation, who sponsored the tents and chairs as well as assisted with lunch preparation, also donated school and sports supplies for children.

The Cornwall Regional Blood Bank was also present, encouraging residents to donate blood. Thirty-eight people indicated interest and 21 were given the nod to donate. Blood donors were entered into a prize draw and had the opportunity to win a host of exciting gifts.

Michelle Garwood, nurse at the Llandilo School of Special Education and one of the main organisers for the event, shared her gratitude to all the sponsors for their support.

“The event could not have been possible without our partners. We want to thank every one of them for coming on board willingly and contributing in all the ways they did. Special thanks to those who offered day and weekend passes along with household items as prizes on the day,” Garwood said.

She also shared that their main reason for staging such an event was in response to the desire to give back expressed by students at the school and the evident health issues experienced by people who cannot afford to be properly examined and treated.

“The plan to have another community health fair came about as students from time to time would express their need to help others and give back to their community. These sessions we would have when they are in the sick bay and whilst I am monitoring them, they would share that giving back to someone makes them feel complete. Staff members, including our principal Mr Roy Reid, in their interactions with community members knew of the wellness challenges being faced daily and so our school, along with the Lucea and Montego Bay Learning Centres, formed a planning committee to stage the fair. The committee and our sponsors all agree that the day was a major success.”

Patricia Hill, one of the beneficiaries at the fair who also donated blood, voiced how much she appreciated everything.

“I came here and got to check everything I wanted to and witnessed so many elderly persons and young babies getting proper medical attention. After all I got for free here today, donating blood to help those in need was just my way of giving back to the cause.”

Lorna Keane was thankful to receive all her medication and have all her checks done.

She said, “If I were to pay for everything I got today I would be in debt for a long time. I am just happy to the school and to all the great business places that helped with everything.”

Sandals Foundation representative Jervene Simpson shared that the charitable organisation was happy to come on board and give back to those in need in the parish.

“We know the needs for proper health care are great in our communities. For every free health fair staged, a notable percentage of our population is impacted positively. That is always what we want to do at the foundation — to impact our nation and inspire hope in the hearts and lives of our people,” Simpson said.




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