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Carroll County News

Health Expo promotes health and wellness to community

WESTMINSTER — For all five years the Carroll Hospital Center has put on its Total Health Expo & Community Open House, Anne and Paul Capriolo have attended.

"It's a tradition of ours," Anne Capriolo said. " I really enjoy the health fair."

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Anne Capriolo said she enjoys attending because of the abundance of information provided by the hospital and other medical organizations. Paul Capriolo said he enjoys the access to information as well, but his favorite part is trying the free services the hospital provides at the expo.

Last year, Anne convinced Paul to get acupuncture therapy to help alleviate back pain that had been plaguing him. At first, he said, he was doubtful. Since he tried it, however, he has returned to the center every three weeks for acupuncture sessions.

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"I swear by it," Paul Capriolo said. "You wouldn't think 12 needles in your back would be helpful, but it is."

During the Sunday event, visitors were able to see and even experience varied services the hospital provides, said Mary Peloquin, a member of the event's planning committee. Among the services offered were alternative treatments such as acupuncture, as well as more traditional treatment regimens.

"Our goal for the expo is to promote overall health and wellness in the community," Peloquin said.

During the event, the main hall was lined with activities for children, including face painting, cast-making and, new to this year, a mini-golf course. Children also had the opportunity to tour an ambulance and be shown the tools medical personnel might use while on an emergency call.

In the Shauck Auditorium, more than 20 booths were arrayed displaying information and resources on a range of medical organizations, conditions and treatments.

One booth offered free hand wax treatments, which act in a therapeutic manner to relax the muscles and ligaments in the hand, thereby easing the pain of arthritis.

Throughout the day, presentations from many fields also took place on everything from Zumba and stretching sessions to talks about ways to improve mental health and sports-related injuries and prevention methods.

During the Zumba demonstration, Linda Gourley, of Westminster, decided to participate. She is a volunteer for the American Cancer Society and was taking a break from that organization's booth to get a little exercise, she said.

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"We are here to create an awareness of upcoming events the American Cancer Society is organizing," Gourley said.

Gourley and Sheila Wallace, another volunteer for the cancer society, both said though they aren't cancer survivors, they know many people who are. They volunteer, Gourley said, because they want to help others live better and live longer.

"We want to create more birthdays," Gourley said. "That's what it's all about."

Peloquin said planning for this year's expo began about nine months ago. The planning committee has about 15 members, she said, and multiple organizations are represented in addition to the hospital, including the Carroll County Health Department, Access Carroll and A Partnership for a Healthier Carroll.

The event typically draws a crowd to the hospital, Peloquin said.

"We typically get 200-300 people visit the expo, but we are expecting more this year because of the opening of the cancer center," she said.

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The newly constructed William E. Kahlert Regional Cancer Center was open to the public Sunday, and tours were given to those interested in learning more about the state-of-the-art medical center. Along with the cancer center, the Tevis Center for Wellness and the Wellness Boutique were open to visitors.

Corilynn Hughes, clinical research manager at the hospital, said the cancer center was open to the public because it was the community that made its construction possible.

"The [William E. Kahlert Regional Cancer Center] was community driven and donated," Hughes said. "We want people to see this is what they were able to do. Carroll County is a great area and this is what our patients and community deserve."

As part of the expo, health screenings were offered at the Tevis Center, said Jaime Ridgely, a marketing specialist at the hospital. Some screenings required pre-registration, but the majority were available to anyone interested, she said. The screenings included testing blood pressure, hearing, body fat measurements, diabetes assessments and many other health-related tests.

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The Wellness Boutique was also open and ready for business. Mary Richard, director of volunteers, said the focus of the shop is the same as the hospital, to promote overall health and wellness to patients and the community.

The boutique sells an assortment of items, including jewelry, bath salts, tea, lotions, clothing and accessories and its Studio You specializes in wig fitting, and bra and swimsuit fitting for breast cancer survivors.

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"If our patients need personalized care, we provide comfort and privacy for them at Studio You," Richard said.

Peloquin said planning for next year's expo will begin in the next few months, but for now, she was going to enjoy the success of this year's event.

Paul Capriolo, meanwhile, said every year it seems the crowd gets larger and hopes more people will come to see how the event benefits the community.

"The crowd, the turnout, this amazes me," he said. "It's a good thing. We'll definitely be back next year."

Reach staff writer Wiley Hayes at 410-857-3315 or wiley.hayes@carrollcountytimes.com.


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