Residents enjoy Health and Safety Fair

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Tate Weston, 11, of Tamarack gets a taste of life as a surgeon while treating a patient for “candycitis” during Saturday’s Health and Safety fair.

HANCOCK — Copper Country residents got important check-ups, looked inside operating rooms and fire trucks, and did plenty more activities at UP Health System — Portage’s 11th annual Health and Safety Fair Saturday.

Screenings included cholesterol, blood pressure, and hemoglobin. There were also displays from outside vendors such as the Great Start Collaborative and Copper Country Mental Health.

Several events also catered to children, such as BHK Child Development’s strider course and the teddy bear “boo-boo clinic,” designed to introduce children to medical care.

“There’s something for everyone here, and every year it keeps getting better and better,” said Angela Luskin, health and fitness manager at UP Health System — Portage.

Added this year were free blood typing and skin screenings. Conducted by Forefront Dermatology, the skin screenings were a way to educate the public and detect early skin cancers, said dermatologist Jordan Brooks. They examined spots of concern, and also offered gowns for people who wanted a total body screening.

They find pre-cancers and skin cancers fairly routinely, particularly more types such as basal cell, Brooks said. Melanoma, which is more dangerous and has more chance of spreading, is also rarer.

“We haven’t found them today, but we’re on the lookout,” he said.

Tate Weston, 11, of Tamarack, got to play surgeon in an operating room activity. The “patient” was a cardboard box filled with blankets. With the aid of a camera showing the insides, Weston used a tool to remove the candy causing the patient’s “candycitis.”

“It’s pretty fun,” he said of the day. His favorite was a station where he got to throw darts at a balloon.

By shortly after noon, the seed planting station gave away all of its plants and all but one of its packets of seeds, including basil and parsley.

At the same time, Cross Country Sports had only one of 60 helmets left. It makes people aware of the health benefits and the need for safety, said owner Rick Oikarinen.

“We tell people, helmets are like insurance,” he said. “You hope it never comes into play, but it’s handy to have when it does.”

Ginny Hemmer of Hancock was at the blood glucose and cholesterol station. New to the area, she thought the event would be a good chance to see what services are in the area. Asked for their thoughts, her children chimed in turn, “It’s fun.”

“We haven’t made it to all the booths, but so far, there’s quite a range,” she said. “And there are lots of activities for the kids, which we’re just really enjoying. I appreciate that an organization like the hospital would provide this for the community.”