“It makes me happy,” says participant Tami-Lynn Olson of Somers, who particularly appreciated the table of information on suicide prevention and other resources.
Many displays were hands-on, such as Providence St. Joseph Medical Center’s primo location just inside the front door where two or three people lined up for blood pressure checks. As she applied the cuff, the nurse discussed signs of heart disease that are different for women, such as pressure between the shoulder blades, shortness of breath, fatigue and nausea.
The blood pressure check was a wake-up call for a woman who said her blood pressure was higher than it should be. She hadn’t taken her medicine for two days, but promised to go home immediately and take it.
It’s just one way W4W focuses on health education and disease prevention by offering a range of free or low-cost health screenings and information designed specifically for women. WFW is sponsored by the SKC Center for Prevention and Welfare.
In addition to education about heart disease, people can try on a bra, get a pap smear on the spot, buy a red nose to support a children’s charity, survey insurance companies, get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, and sign up for blood tests to monitor liver function. or checking cholesterol at a later date, just to name a few. Immunizations, mental health services, breast screenings, cervical screenings, thyroid screenings, bone density, chiropractic, and vision screenings, and men’s health information were also available.
Although she did not participate in health testing, Andrea Adams, an employee of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Food Sovereignty Program, told passersby about gardening classes around the reservation. Instruction covers all stages from tillage, planting and fertilizing, to weeding and finally harvesting fresh vegetables. She noted that people benefit from eating fruits and vegetables, and that gardening is a good way to get exercise, have fun with friends, and eat the freshly picked vegetables at the end of summer.
“People love to garden,” says Dana Hewankorn, who also works with the Food Sovereignty Program.
Overall, W4W suppliers provided a wealth of free, valuable information, and the return to SKC after the pandemic was clearly welcomed by those in attendance.