Free health fair focusing on community resources, special needs

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The area in and around Alabaster’s City Hall on Aug. 11 will be filled with health-related information ranging from cardiology to general surgery, and will feature an area specifically aimed at connecting local families of special-needs individuals with local resources.

The city, Brookwood Baptist Health and the Angel Warriors Foundation will team up on Aug. 11 to host the free health fair, which will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Event organizers said the fair will highlight several different types of health care, many of which are available in the Alabaster community.

“It’s an opportunity for the city to increase awareness and improve wellness for people, and it’s a way to highlight the medical professionals in the city in an informal setting,” said Ward 3 City Councilwoman Stacy Rakestraw, who worked to organize the event with Jamia Williams of the Angel Warriors Foundation and Shelby Baptist Medical Center leaders.

The fair will offer health screenings and doctors from many disciplines, such as OB/GYN, cardiology, physical therapy, vision, bariatrics, internal medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, dental and more. Students in Thompson High School’s health academy will act as ambassadors during the event, Rakestraw said.

Mental health resources also will be available during the event, including a child and adolescent psychiatrist from Alabama Psychiatry and psychiatry resources from Shelby Baptist.

Rakestraw said the city is pushing to make local residents more aware of the mental health resources available in their own community.

“Our city has unfortunately had so many suicides over the past few years, and so many people don’t know there are mental health resources available to them right here in the city,” Rakestraw said.

Angel Warriors Foundation, a local nonprofit organization aimed at supporting local families of special-needs individuals, will have many organizations, including Down Syndrome of Alabama, Autism Society of Alabama, Special Equestrians, Arc of Shelby County, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and more represented at the fair.

Echoing Rakestraw’s sentiments, Williams said many local families aren’t aware of the resources available to them.

“We really cater to special-needs families, and a lot of those families have no idea about the resources that are available,” Williams said. “That’s one of our main missions and the reason we founded the Angel Warriors Foundation: to make sure these kids can be all they can be.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this,” Williams added. “We want these kids to have equal opportunities to reach their full potential.”