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Worth the wait

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Michael Gwin, certified massage therapist, gives Donna Rhodes, a physical therapist, a massage at the event held at W.W. Robinson Elementary School in Woodstock on Saturday. Candace Sipos/Daily

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Candace Sipos/Daily Donna Schmiedeknecht, a therapist at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, performs a heart test on Danielle Klinko, 8, a student at W.W. Robinson Elementary School in Woodstock, at the Community Wellness Fair on Saturday.  Candace Sipos/Daily

Event to promote healthy lifestyles, habits and awareness returns after a few years off

By Candace Sipos -- csipos@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- After a few years of down time, the Shenandoah Valley Community Wellness Fair was back Saturday and drew a good turnout, according to Lore Bredeman, public relations manager with Valley Health.

"We always hope for more, but we realize people are busy," she said at W.W. Robinson Elementary School in Woodstock on Saturday while standing in front of dozens of booths manned by representatives from various local organizations. Roughly 100 people showed up to the event, she said.

She added that the event used to draw in more vendors and more attendees in years past, but she said she thinks this year was a good start for a resurgence.

The last fair was held in 2007, and there was a fair almost every year for many years before that, according to Tracy Mitchell, who used to organize the event. Over the summer, a committee was formed to bring the event back for this spring.

"A big objective is just increasing awareness," Mitchell said. "It can have a trickle effect. We hope the impact will reach well beyond just the attendees here."

Alla Hynes, an opthamologist at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, said she just enjoys getting to know possible patients.

"It's a great opportunity to meet the community to answer the questions for people," she said.

Hynes and Mitchell noted that many people came in Saturday with questions related to complications from diabetes. In addition to a booth dedicated to education about that disease, outside organizations such as the Piedmont Medical Laboratory, Smart Beginnings of Shenandoah Valley and the Shenandoah Valley Public Schools' Parent Resource Center were at the event.
Shenandoah Relaxation Services, a branch of Valley Health, had Michael Gwin, a massage therapist, at the fair giving free 5-minute neck and shoulder massages.

Gwin estimated that he gave about 25 massages throughout the event.

Donna Schmiedeknecht, a therapist at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, said education that comes from fairs such as this one helps people to recognize early symptoms of heart attacks.

"With educating the people, they're starting to recognize the signs and get to the hospital," she said.

She showed Danielle Klinko, 8, a pupil at W.W. Robinson Elementary School, and her mother, Heidi Klinko, how painful a heart test can be.

Heidi Klinko said she liked the fair because it provided her with valuable information she needed.

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