Health and Wellness Fair
Kara Lacy, LPN (left) and Parth Shah, MD (right) from Crystal Run Healthcare at the 2014 Health and Wellness Fair. (Photo by Jac Bergenson)

by Jac Bergenson

Healthcare.  It’s one of the hot topics of 2014, what with the rollout of federal healthcare reforms and legislation.    With most comprehensive plans costing hundreds of dollars a month, it becomes more important for young professionals to take in all the information they can.

Just under two months before the next wave of Mount graduates exit the school and enter the “real world,” Mount Saint Mary College hosted its 21st Annual Beth Roeper Health and Wellness Fair. David Melby, a Trustee of the Mount’s board of directors, sponsored the event with his firm, Rose & Kiernan, Inc.

“I highly encourage all students to visit the health fair,” Melby says.  “This health fair has a long history of promoting the Mount’s culture of health and well-being.”

Students and local organizations came out in droves for the event, with organizations such as National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, and the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council of Orange County (ADAC) attending.

Mary Alice Presto, a representative of ADAC, came to the college to “bring awareness to the college community about what we do.”

“We bring information to the community about issues surrounding substance abuse,” Presto stated.  “We build awareness.  We build community coalitions.”

Drug and alcohol abuse was just one issue discussed by representatives at the fair.  Topics ranged from healthy eating, to disease awareness, to hospice care.

Janice Valentino, Director of Marketing and Community Relations and Development for Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties, came to the fair for her seventh time.  “It’s important to be here because people need to be aware of hospice care,” she said.

“We’re here every year, and we get a very good response from people because many people have experienced hospice care in their lives,” Valentino continued.

At the Hospice stand were fliers for a Mount screening of the film, “Consider the Conversation.” The award-winning documentary, to be screened on March 27 in Aquinas Hall, examines multiple perspectives on end-of-live conversations and care.

Lauren Parrelli, a senior at the Mount, says she “was surprised to see the amount of tables there.”

“From health screenings, to oral care, to tips for severe weather conditions, and preparing your pets for emergencies—I couldn’t believe the range they had,” Parrelli recalls.

Parrelli stopped by the New York Organ Donor Network stand during the fair.  The table caught her eye with their “Hate the Wait” campaign materials, referring to the wait for life-saving organs.

“I’ve always wanted to be an organ donor, but I never got around to signing up,” Parrelli explains.” “I thought this was my chance to finally sign up, and I did.  I’m now a registered organ donor.”

Parrelli didn’t only walk away from the fair an organ donor; she walked away with lots of free samples, as did many of her fellow students.  She says, “I got a toothbrush and floss, a glow stick for emergencies, hand sanitizer, lotion a mix of vitamins, different teas, healthy treats for dogs, and a stress ball.”

Based on Parrelli’s account and the objectives of the organizations in attendance, students who attended the fair came away with a greater understanding of what it means to live healthy.