Hartford — On Oct. 7, more than 600 area residents converged on the Parker Memorial Recreation Center on Main Street in Hartford to partake in the 13th OMW Legacy (Ollie M. Williams) Annual Community Health and Wellness Fair. The City of Hartford’s Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation co-hosted the fair.
The OMW Legacy is the Ollie M. Williams Legacy. Ollie Williams is Geneva Williams’ mother. For the past 13 years, Geneva has been playing the lead role in organizing the annual health fair, formally known as the Dr. Frank T. Simpson-Waverly School Community Health and Wellness Fair. The theme of this year’s fair was “Healthy Families Build Healthy Communities.”
“Many individuals and families have not been able to access primary medical care or lack the ability and/or resources to ascertain and maintain preventative health care and lifesaving screenings, in addition to behavioral health services. Unfortunately, because of these complications, many residents are left extremely vulnerable and are experiencing a poorer quality of life,” said Williams. “Our goal and the driving force behind the fair is to address these stumbling blocks to well-being. We cannot eliminate these disparities until we acknowledge the social barriers and provide support, better insurance and improve access to our most vulnerable population.”
“This fair, which I have attended for several years, is, by far, the best community outreach we’ve ever seen,” said former Hartford City Councilman Kyle Anderson. “This health fair saved my life! It was through this free service, testing and screening, that I learned that I was pre-diabetic. The results were immediately sent to my primary care physician.”
This year’s fair also brought awareness to colorectal cancer information, along with take home screening kits for individuals 45 and older. Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the United States. “This is notable when one realizes the significant rise and impact colorectal cancer is having on young people of color,” said Williams.
The fair also coincided with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Hartford Hospital’s “Take the Time” Mobile Mammography Coach and Team conducted mammograms for men and woman, and Hartford Healthcare Cancer Institute’s Early Detection and Prevention Program conducted clinical breast examinations. “We are in a crisis with the high mortality rate of Black women with breast cancer and Blacks dying from colorectal cancer,” said Williams.
Numerous clinical services were available, including cholesterol, A1C diabetes, BMI and blood pressure testing; health-age appraisals; adult oral cancer screening; birth control and family planning; smoking cessation information; flu shots; eye exams for children and adults; lung and pulmonary function; confidential STD & HIV testing; Prostate PSA Test; immunizations and COVID-19; fuel and energy assistance; heart health; men and women’s health; dental care for children and adults; behavioral health; community nutrition and meal planning; geriatric wellness tips; and information on wellness and health management, to name a few. During the fair, children enjoyed arts and crafts, storytelling, and face painting, along with ample giveaways and raffles. ■