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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bethel's Health Fair: "Let's Have a Heart to Heart Walk"

The Bethel AME Church Missionary Society is on a mission this year.

And it's truly 'heart-warming.'

Every year during Life Member Month, the educational arm of the Missionary Society, the group picks a program that informs people, and focuses on members getting the word out about, and raising funds for, a particular program.

This year, it's heart disease and how to prevent it.

It's a subject that hits close to home for program organizer Charlene Hodge.

"This year, since I've had heart problems myself," she says, "I wanted to do something for the American Heart Association. This year, we're splitting our fundraiser with the Mission Overseas missionaries, and the Heart Association."

You have to walk, to get the emphasis on how to prevent heart disease.

Created with flickr slideshow.

"Walking is good for everything," says Hodge. "It's good for your heart, good for your joints, body and even emotional stress. Walking relieves a lot of stress. People need to be educated about the importance of preventing heart disease."

Hodge speaks from experience.

"I had what I thought was bronchitis," she says. "I went from the doctor to the hospital where they did some tests. All of a sudden, the doctor came into the room and told me I had congestive heart failure. First thing I said was, 'what are you talking about?' I'd been having problems breathing, but I never considered that it was because of a heart problem."

She says, education is the key.

"With the walk, we're trying to get the word out that walking is important, and so is health education. Walkers got packets with all kinds of information about heart issues, how to prevent them and how to deal with them."

The Bethel Missionary Society's efforts have benefited other agencies as well.

"The first year, we did it for Susan G. Komen," says Hodge. "We educated people about breast cancer, how to detect it, how to self-examine yourself, how to get check-ups, and how to do deal with it if you find something. We also made a donation to the Race for the Cure."

Last year, the local Alzheimers Association benefited from the society's attention, "in memory of two of our church members, Mrs. Imogene Hankins and Mrs. Eula Leeper," Hodge says.

This year's Heart Walk went hand in hand with Martha Harper and her Health Fair at Bethel.

"People just need to be educated on preventive health," Hodge says.