Niagara Health Expo connects students and health professionals

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

The 6th annual Niagara Health Expo connects the Niagara Community to various health professionals. The main purpose of the Niagara Health Expo is to provide community members with the right resources so they can make healthy choices.

“An event of this magnitude wouldn’t be possible if the whole community didn’t come together like various clinics, media partners and it’s various sponsors and places like Hotel Dieu Shaver that allowed them to host the event and offering their space,” said Paul Carfagnini, the event organizer.

The Niagara Health Expo will happen on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is free of cost. It will be taking place at Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre which is located on 541 Glenridge Ave, St. Catharines. All are welcome to attend and are able to park on site for free.

Carfagnini is connected to the Hotel Dieu Shaver Hospital as he used to be a volunteer and serve on the Board of Directors when it was formerly called the Shaver Hospital. He saw firsthand how the hospital made a difference and working in the field of communications he wondered how he could take his skills and give back to the hospital which was a major part of the growth of the expo.

“Part of the event is to support the Hotel Dieu Shaver Foundation and proceeds from the 50/50 draw and social raffle that will be at the event will go to the foundation to purchase patient care equipment,” said Carfagnini. “In the past year, we were able to donate $2,400 that went to the foundation and helped to fund a bed.”

According to Carfagnini, the foundation is giving back in many ways in terms of helping people with their health care needs.

“When you hear from individuals specifically about how the Expo in some cases saved their life or made a positive change in their life, it gives you a good feeling that you’re making a difference,” said Carfagnini.

The expo will start following the pre-registration at 9:00 a.m. The first 100 visitors will receive a swag bag filled with promotional items from the various vendors.

At 9:30 a.m. the doors will open. Visitors can go around to different booths to visit the vendors. During this time there will also be speakers doing live presentations. The event will be kicked off with a tai chi demo.

At 10:30 a.m, there will be an audiologist speaking about auditory health.

“Your hearing care is good for your overall health care. There are so many different combinations. When people suffer from hearing loss it leads to isolation and depression which isn’t good,” said Carfagnini.

At 11:00 a.m. there will be a presentation on mental health and positive speaking. They partnered with Mental Health Solutions and Pathstone Mental Health. This year there is a new exhibit called Cognitive Balance which is about brain training.

Also at 11:00 a.m. sessions will be held focusing on Parkinson’s Disease and pelvic health to name a few. YMCA of Niagara will be one of the health exhibitors talking about fitness.

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Carfagnini highlights that one of the vendors will be the regional cancer program that will have a number of services that are free to the public — such as breast screening.

There will also be fun activities such as a raffle where participants have the potential to go home with prizes.

The Niagara Health Expo aims to have about 200 visitors come through the event but is hoping that they can hit 300.

“Health and wellness is such a vital part of our lives that we hope that people would be interested and we make it easy for people to participate, there are fun things to do, there is free parking, free admission, no need to have an appointment to speak to a doctor or practitioner,” said Carfagnini.

Carfagnini feels that when people learn about health care options and wellness at the Expo it creates a ripple effect where people share it throughout their daily lives. He strongly believes in a healthier life being a happier life.

Currently there are only a handful of volunteers signed up and Niagara Health Expo is currently looking for more volunteers. Those interested can sign up online at www.niagarahealthexpo.com or email Carfagnini at producer@niagarahealthexpo.com. Several Med Plus students at Brock are volunteering as the event is approved by the program but anyone in the community is welcome to volunteer.

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