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Two-day health fest draws crowd

“Celebrate Life Festival” offers blood pressure, cholesterol checks

Posted: February 3, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Physical therapist Julie Barker, left, coaches Hector Hernandez of Canyon Country during a "planking" exercise to strengthen his core at the SCV Chamber of Commerce "Celebration of Life Festival" held in Valencia on Saturday. (Dan Watson/The Signal)

Health-industry professionals from around the Santa Clarita Valley gathered at the Valencia Industrial Center on Saturday to kick off a two-day festival promoting community wellness, fitness and awareness.

The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce’s “Celebrate Life Festival” brought together a diverse mix of industry representatives focusing on health, fitness, beauty, wealth, leisure and travel during the event’s two-day run.

Saturday attendees were offered a variety of health screenings, including checks for blood pressure, cholesterol and body composition.

Neal Bycheck, a wellness coordinator for Pacific Health and Wellness, helped run bone-density tests to check for osteoporosis on Saturday.

“Disease is such a horrific thing,” Bycheck said. “That’s why early detection and prevention is so important.”

Bycheck said Pacific Health and Wellness provides health-screening services to several different groups around the city

Screenings are particularly important because some diseases, like osteoporosis, can go undetected until it is too late, Bycheck said.

“There are so many benefits to early screening and prevention,” Bycheck said. “Even if you forget about the financial benefits, it’s really about improving your quality of life now and in the long run.”

On Saturday, Bycheck was providing screening services for Facey Medical Group, a health company and title sponsor of this year’s festival.

Nadine Serrano, a medical receptionist supervisor for Facey Medical Group, said the event was about promoting awareness of health issues.

“Basically it’s about taking care of the community,” Serrano said. “The biggest goal of events like these is to make sure the community is both well informed and conscious of how they can take better care of themselves.”

While many screenings focused on finding or preventing disease, some presented ways to live a healthier life, even while sitting in front of a computer.

Stacy Jensen, an occupational therapist at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, explained to attendees how simple things like proper posture in an office chair or positioning of a keyboard could actually prevent some repeated-stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome for people who often use a computer at home or work.

“With how much people on their desktops or laptops, knowing how to use them in the healthiest way possible is becoming more and more important,” Jensen said.

But even with checks for diseases and warnings about wellness the event was a light-hearted affair.

Newhall resident Robert Hill attended the event wearing a heart on his sleeve, and everywhere else for that matter.

Dressed in a large, bright heart costume, the longtime hospital volunteer directed attendees to various health screenings and handed out information about an upcoming heart health fair.

“Fairs like this are great; there’s a lot of free information here,” Hill said.

The Celebrate Life festival is open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Valencia Industrial Center, 25300 Rye Canyon Road.

The sponsors of this year’s event are the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, Facey Medical Group, The Signal, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Helm Vision Group, SCVTV, KHTS AM 1220, the office of Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, AK Printing and the city of Santa Clarita.


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