By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Blessing Health System officials hope to boost stroke awareness with a look inside the brain at the annual Treat Yourself Right Wellness Day at the Kroc Center on Saturday.
This year's day of free screenings and health education also will feature an 18-foot-long, 12-foot-high inflatable model of the brain, called the MEGA Brian. Wellness Day guests can walk through the model to learn about brain function, trauma and disease.
Blessing Communication Specialist Donna Rupert and Amy McMillen, outreach coordinator for the Blessing Heart and Vascular Center, are coordinating the event. They hope the MEGA Brain will draw guests of all ages to a full morning of wellness, prevention and education programs.
McMillen said wellness awareness starts in the womb. She said it's important for individuals and families to maintain an awareness of their family history and potential medical conditions. Free screenings might identify a medical issue before the problem gets worse.
"The screenings are all painless," Rupert said. "There's nothing that requires more than taking off your socks and shoes."
Blessing staff members will offer services such as a blood pressure check, body fat assessment, grip and muscle strength assessment, a suspicious mole check as well as risk assessments for sleep apnea, colon disease and falls.
"These free screenings are just a stepping stone to getting out there and start being serious about your health," McMillen said.
Rupert and McMillen have arranged for nine physicians to speak on topics such as cardiology, women's health and wellness. The talks begin at 8 a.m. at the Kroc Center, 405 Vermont. Screenings will begin at 9 a.m. and will continue until a dietary demonstration at noon.
Rupert said this is Blessing's largest outreach event of the year. While many hospital departments offer education events each year, this event allows the entire Blessing community to come together to educate the public.
"They want to see them when they're well, and they want to help them stay well," Rupert said.
More than 700 guests participated in last year's event. McMillen and Rupert have worked to encourage attendance from more rural communities.
"We really want to invite everyone into this event and help everyone stay healthy and be well," Rupert said. "We need to catch things before they're more serious and much harder to take care of."