Almost 900 Routt County residents took advantage of free health screenings and $30 blood tests at the 9Health Fair.
Volunteers, mostly from Yampa Valley Medical Center, had counted more than 300 blood tests by 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Steamboat Springs Middle School, which added to almost 450 tests from early bird screenings two weeks ago at YVMC, Site Coordinator Lisa Bankard said.
"It's become a regular institution," said Anne Cosby, executive director of the 9Health Fair. "It's such a huge savings for everyone. People actually plan their vacations around it. Steamboat always does such a fabulous job with it."
Cosby made it a point to travel to Steamboat on Saturday because it was the 25th year Steamboat has held the 9Health Fair. The 9Health Fair is held at 168 sites statewide and involves more than 18,000 volunteers, Cosby said.
"That's what it takes to make it happen," Cosby said.
Steamboat resident Kate Stamm was one of many who had blood taken Saturday. She recently found out she had high cholesterol and was happy to pay $30 for tests, rather than $800 -- what it typically can cost.
Having the early bird screenings helped ease wait time this year, said Bankard, who is also the wellness and community education coordinator at YVMC. She said it helped so much that she is certain YVMC would have them again next year.
"It was so congested last year," Bankard said. "People were actually getting upset. We said we had to do something."
As in previous years, booths were set up for consultations and check-ups, such as vision testing, foot check-ups, breast cancer detection and physician consultations.
Steamboat resident Marian Tolles had her feet checked, while a line backed up behind her for others waiting to see Podiatrist Kris Boyce. For some people, check-ups verify they are in good health. For others, the free check-ups have saved their lives, said Gloria James, who with her husband, Bill, has worked at the 9Health Fair eight consecutive years.
"We've seen some people come in here and find out they have problems," James said. "This program has been a life saver for years."
"The program really helps people because so many are uninsured or underinsured," Bankard said.
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