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Citizens benefit from health expo at CWC

Exhibits and advice: Citizens benefit from health expo

Apr 29, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

Leaning back on a reclining chair fit for a summer's day outdoors, Sharon Ayers of Riverton was ready to test her blood circulation.

"I'm going to tell you about the arteries in your legs," said Eric Belk, director of radiology and cardiopulmonary services at Riverton Memorial Hospital.

After connecting straps around her biceps and above her ankle, Belk watched a monitoring unit while Ayers waited for part of the reason she attended Saturday's For Your Health Expo at Central Wyoming College.

"To get my blood work and checkup and to do the different things" like checking her blood flow, Ayers said, still reclined in the chair. "And make sure I'll stay healthy. We'll see in a minute."

A few moments later, she received her results.

"I'm good," she said.

Ayers and around 100 others cruised through the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Theater to visit the dozens of informational booths available as part of the event organized by Riverton Memorial Hospital.

There was no shortage of health-related information available.

One of the newest additions to the annual event was Dr. Gayle Roberts, who moved from Mesa, Ariz., to Riverton on April 9 as part of his job at the hospital's Wind River Oncology.

"We want people to be alert to their bodies and changes that occur within," Roberts said, noting their importance in detecting potential problems.

His message to patrons at his booth also involved changing habits that could lead to cancer such as smoking.

"We want people to know that we're here," he said of the oncology department. "I won't say if you have cancer we're the answer. What I will say is we'll help you on the path hopefully to a good result."

With his son Chih Tu helping him at the expo, Roberts wanted people to know about the oncology division. "It's going to be a pleasure to help introduce that kind of care to the community on a more permanent basis," he said, adding that he worked at the unit back in August.

Other booths available for visitors included insurance companies, veterans assistance, medical care, diabetes information and fitness operations.

A plastic water bottle rested on its side with brown gunk spilling out in a frozen state at tobacco prevention specialist Theresa Harmati's booth.

The container was a demonstration of spit tobacco use she has in her arsenal of ways to get people to stop using the products.

"The tobacco companies are telling you to do this," Harmati said, pointing the plastic bottle.

She quickly corrected someone's use of the term "smokeless" when describing the tobacco products.

"The word smokeless relates to harmless, and it's not harmless," she said. "It's spit tobacco."

In her mission to curb tobacco use by those she can influence, Harmati recalled a recent visit with students at Rendezvous Elementary School who later sent her a thank-you card with an anti-smoking logo on it.

"They decided as a class they would never use tobacco in the future. Isn't that wonderful? Even if half of them don't use tobacco," she said.

"Helping kids not to start is so important," she added.

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