Ever since there have been 9Health Fairs in Colorado, there has been a fair site in Leadville. First started by the Lions Club in that area, the fair is now coordinated by St. Vincent Hospital, “I really consider this the pinnacle of outreach every year, when we do this 9Health Fair,” says St. Vincent Hospital CEO, Gary Campbell.
“The collaboration of 9Health Fair and St. Vincent Hospital is a natural. We’re committed to the mission of delivering quality health care, here in Lake County, and the health fair is committed to helping people own their health,” adds Karen Onderdonk, director of outreach for St. Vincent Hospital and a 9Health Fair volunteer.
The site in Leadville gets over 70 volunteers every year that provide services to the community, including volunteers from St. Vincent Hospital. Having the hospital involved gives members of the community access to experts and healthcare providers. Participants also get to meet those that they’ll receive care with after the 9Health Fair is done.
Longtime 9Health Fair volunteer and participant, Connie Yant, discovered an issue through her bloodwork and received follow up care at St. Vincent, “It was a thyroid issue that later resulted in surgery, but I was lucky enough to find that in time before it developed any further.”
Since the 9Health Fair has been part of the Leadville community for the last 40 years, residents have come to expect it, “I think that if it ever went away there would possibly be a riot in the streets. I think people would really be just shocked if it wasn’t available and I think people really look forward to that each year,” says Amy Tait, the president of the Lions Club in Leadville.
In addition to Leadville, there are 14 other cities that have hosted a 9Health Fair since the beginning, for the last 40 years:
- Castle Rock
- Fort Collins
- Fort Lupton
- Canon City
- Las Animas
The 9Health Fair first started in 1979. Physician John F. Brensike, with the National Institute of Health, was traveling the country in the late 1970s when he observed a high-level of interest for health screening services. Dr. Brensike was passionate about promoting preventative health maintenance. He established the National Health Screening Council for Volunteer Organizations (NHSCVO). Through this organization, the health fair concept was born and presented to interested communities across the nation.
In Colorado, the president of KBTV Channel 9 (currently 9NEWS) recognized the value to the community. 9News provided financial and media support to launch the first 9Health Fair. In the first year, there were 40 different fairs, including the one in Leadville, CO.
This year, there are 100 9Health Fairs planned across the state. To find a location near you or to register online, click here.