By Sean Barron
Bruce Tod was concerned about his weight, but after less than a half-hour of tests, he walked away with peace of mind.
“You have to be proactive in taking care of yourself,” the 52-year-old Hubbard man said after getting the results from a battery of tests of his cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, weight and body-fat percentage.
Tod, an investor, was among those who took advantage of Saturday’s second annual Happy and Healthy Wellness Day at Walgreens Pharmacy, 2560 Belmont Ave., on the North Side.
Teaming up with Walgreens for the six-hour program was Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership.
The event featured a Walgreens Way to Well AARP tour bus on which were free health screenings, assessments and tests for those 18 and older. Participants underwent a series of procedures that took 20 to 25 minutes to check their vital signs, weight, body-mass index, visceral fat, body composition and resting metabolism.
It’s vital that people get tested because such a move could prevent more-serious, long-term health problems later, Tod explained.
“There is help for people if they seek it out, and it’s free,” Tod said, adding that he sees mobile buses such as the one at Walgreens becoming a bigger part of health- care delivery.
A major problem is that many people who lack health-care coverage forgo such testing largely because of the cost, noted Carlos Perez, a paramedic and health tester.
Perez said he recently saw a few people who had complained of chronic dizziness. The free screening revealed that their blood pressure “was through the roof,” recalled Perez, adding that the tour bus travels throughout the country about 10 months each year.
More dramatically, a woman who got tested during last year’s wellness day also received a recommendation, based on her results, to visit her doctor. Doing so led to the discovery that she had cancer, recalled Mike Ziccardi, the local Walgreens manager.
“It’s really cool that we helped save somebody’s life last year,” said Ziccardi, noting that the estimated 10 tests normally would cost at least $100.
Under a tent near the bus was information about MYCAP’s programs and services, which include computer-literacy courses, a home-weatherization program, Head Start, case management, finance strategies and a Home Energy Assistance Program component that helps qualified residents with cooling assistance during the summer.
MYCAP and the area Walgreens stores serve many of the same people, and Saturday’s program also was an opportunity to show that the two entities care about the community, noted Al Stabilito, MYCAP’s director of communications and outreach.
The next wellness-day program is set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at Walgreens Pharmacy, 5027 Youngstown-Warren Road (U.S. Route 422) in Niles, noted Kourtney Mei, tour manager.
Saturday’s gathering also had activities for children, a gift raffle and a disc jockey.