Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chapter Holds Annual Health Fair and Blood Drive During Local Cultural Festival

Brothers pose for photo during early morning setup
Throughout the day at the Kentland Community Center in Landover, local bands belted out jazz, hip-hop and R&B music from three outdoor sound stages. A few thousand people milled about buying food from the vendors, fellowshipping with friends and enjoying a good weather weekend from the comforts of lawn chairs, tents and picnic tables. No mistake, the annual Harlem Renaissance Festival was in full swing again in Prince George's County.

Inside the community center,  the topic was health and wellness.  For the Brothers of Gamma Pi, it was more than just the Harlem Renaissance Festival. Saturday's event was a tremendous opportunity to reach out to African Americans about taking care of their own health and looking out for the health of others as Gamma Pi chapter held its Annual Health Fair and Charles Drew Blood Drive as part of the Renaissance Festival. The Health Fair and Blood Drive is a mandated program of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Whether they donated blood or just perused the information tables and discussed preventive health with any of a number of representatives who took part in the health fair, patrons from the local community were able to learn about cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and other diseases that afflict African Americans, often disproportionately. 
County Executive Brother Rushern Baker (c) with Gamma Pi

According to Bro. Dr.Kevin Ford,M.D., who heads the chapter's Health Fair and Blood Drive, 
cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in men and women.  The screenings being offered at the health fair focused on 4 of the 5 risk factors for heart disease which include hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and tobacco usage. Approximately 100 participants were able to take home  handouts  for the various diseases  or  have their  blood drawn. Participants were also able to have blood drawn to assess kidney function and PSA levels for men to assess their  prostate.

Bro. Dr. Michael Turnbull and his staff were  present giving out information on psychological services and Bro Dr. Edward Chapelle, DDS, was able to supply free tooth brushes and tooth paste to those who wanted them.  Bro. Dr. Lester Miles was also on-site during the event.

The blood drive had 36 people sign up to give blood and Gamma Pi was able to collect 18 pints."This is what we expect, that about 50% of people who sign up  to give will be eligible to give The 18 pints of blood will help 54 people who will need a blood transfusions and potentially save their life," said Dr. Ford.

People who came out for the event represented every age group and they included men, women and children. There was also some cultural information available including a display saluting Nannie Helen Burroughs manned by Brother James Wyatt, a 63-year- member of the Fraternity.

At least 30 Gamma Pi Brothers including Basileus Brian K. Long rotated through the event all day helping to man the volunteer's table, overseeing the health fair and working at the American Red Cross bloodmobile.

"The men of Friendship Charities Foundation and Omega Psi Phi recognize the importance of promoting community harmony and cultural awareness. That’s why we are honored to serve and support events such as the Harlem Renaissance Festival," said Brother William N. Smith, who arranged the chapter's participation in conjunction with the Harlem Renaissance Festival. Below and in the story are some photos from the event from Brothers Thaddeus Turner and Brett Blake.

With the High Sheriff -- Sheriff High

With State Attorney General Candidate Aisha Braveboy

With The Hon. Brother Rushern Baker
Bro. Dr. Ford checking out the setup

Brothers taking a break from the grind

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