Alabaster hosts fifth annual health fair

Published 5:02 pm Monday, August 21, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – Residents were able to learn about health and meet local medical professionals during the fifth annual Alabaster Health Fair.

Alabaster hosted the health fair on Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Thompson High School Arena.

“We had a great turnout of visitors, health care professionals and local organizations at the city’s health fair on Saturday,” said Neal Wagner, Public Relations Manager for the city of Alabaster.

The event was made possible thanks to the efforts of Alabaster City Councilmember Stacy Rakestraw and many volunteers.

“Our main goal is to make people aware of the quality healthcare they can receive close to home in this area of Shelby County and along the Alabaster Medical Mile which is home to the Shelby Baptist Medical Center,” Rakestraw said. “They don’t have to travel downtown for doctor visits  We want to give residents an opportunity to meet doctors, medical professionals and services in a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere.”

The theme of this year’s health fair was “Healthcare through the Ages.”

“This theme was chosen to emphasize the importance of being health aware at all ages and understanding how body’s and organs are so different from when we are in our 20s compared to when we are in later stages of life,” Rakestraw said. “Having annual exams or checkups is very important and should not be put off for years at a time.”

During the event, residents were able to find medical professionals of different specialties to ask questions or get tested.

Shelby Family Eye Care and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind had a constant flow of vision and hearing screenings for the entire three-hour duration of the event. Dr. Larry Taylor and his staff from Lands health and Wellness performed more than 30 free physicals. Dr. Abilash Balmuri, from Heart South, held a seminar on peripheral arterial disease and Blair Pharmacy provided 35 wellness checks and 25 vaccines.

Children in attendance of the event had a good time as they enjoyed a giant inflatable twister game and face painting.

“We love to see the children having a good time,” Rakestraw said. “Child’s Play Therapy Center and Autism Support of Alabama was there as well to help parents with questions they had.”

The organization Rumpshaker was also present and provided a giant inflatable colon and HOSA students had information for those who walked through the colon display to learn about the importance of gut health.

This year, 15 door prizes were provided by vendors and distributed among attendees. This year was also the first year that the county provided its Community of Hope Mobile Wellness Clinic which was situated outside the facility. The clinic provided 6 free health screens.

The Alabaster Fire Department was also present at the health fair with various vehicles on display.

“We always appreciate the Alabaster Fireman who attend and bring ‘Sparky’ the remote control fire truck, everyone enjoys it,” Rakestraw said. “They also brought two of their firetrucks including our newest, the ladder truck to display for people to enjoy seeing. Thank you to the Alabaster policeman, officers Kevin Summerall and Josh White were there to visit with the community.  A big thanks to officer Channell for help with the set up outside, the night before, so traffic flowed smoothly for the event.”

This year’s health fair saw close to 500 attendees with 38 volunteers and more than 50 vendors.

“Our volunteers, once again included the Alabaster City School Health Academy Students and the ROTC students, who all went above and beyond by helping to unload vendor set up material, helping visitors to the door who are dropped off, driving the shuttles to get people to the arena from the parking lot and cleaning up after it was over,” Rakestraw said. “Our resident volunteers were invaluable to the organization and help with the health fair and are invaluable.”

Rakestraw shared that the Alabaster Health Fair was made possible thanks to the efforts of its sponsors, The Baptist Health Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield as well as event partners, Shelby County, Senta Goldman, Special Needs Coordinator Jamia James, Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Kavaljit Gill, Alabaster City Schools and the city of Alabaster Parks and Rec Department.

“This event could not be done without our volunteers, our sponsors,” Rakestraw said.