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Health and Safety Fair a huge hit with the community

By Staff | Oct 6, 2008

Health, community, and positivity were at the heart of the second annual Family Health and Safety Fair, held Saturday afternoon at the Cape Wellness Center.

This year’s event was subtitled “Hats off to our Heroes,” focusing on the men and women of law enforcement, fire, and first responders of all varieties.

It was specifically dedicated to the memory of fallen Fort Myers Police Officer Andrew Widman, who was shot and killed over a month ago in the line of duty.

Event organizer Debbie Fasenmyer — office manager for Heart and Soul Massage Therapy, which also hosted last year’s event — said this year she specifically wanted to focus, too, on registering people to vote. She moved up the date of this year’s event to address this concern.

“We decided to make it a different day that way we can encourage voter registration, which closes next week,” she said.

The books close today for those planning to vote in the Nov. 4 General Election.

As a former wedding planner, Fasenmyer knew how to organize all the different entities and vendors who took part in the fair, from Hope Hospice to the Red Cross to Alcoholics Anonymous.

But it’s all part of the fair’s focus, which is to alert the community to the services and organizations that abound all over Lee County, not just in the Cape.

“It takes a lot to juggle all of this, but there’s a lot of information here,” Fasenmyer said.

One of the organizations that took part in the fair was the Southwest Florida Addiction Services, which has a youth office in the Cape.

Community Educator Martha del Valle, who’s worked with SWFAS for the last five years, said prescription drug abuse among kids is on the rise.

“It’s become a bigger problem in the last two to three years,” She said. “They see the drugs being legal, and think it’s okay.”

Del Valle said it was difficult to get people to understand what addiction is, and that more often than not people are turned off by thought of becoming educated because they are not addicts themselves.

“When the see the word ‘addiction’, people walk away, but they don’t understand we’re (SWFAS) here for education,” she said. “It’s hard to get people to understand what addiction really is.”

Between trying to educate the people who wandered up to her display, Del Valle went outside to the Blood Mobile to donate blood. She was turned away because she didn’t weigh enough — she’s 106 pounds, and the requirement is 110 pounds, but that didn’t stop the Blood Mobile from doing swift business all day.

Technicians on the Blood Mobile said the traffic had been steady all day long, and had no shortage of folks who wanted to help out.

Amber Morrill, 21, was one of the concerned Cape residents who wanted to donate blood.

“I’d been thinking about it for a while,” She said. “The Blood Mobile was here and I thought it was a good idea to go ahead and do it.”

That was the spirit of the entire event, people in the community kicking in, doing there part, whether it was donating blood, money to help Officer Widman’s family, or pitching to set up tables.

That’s just what Fasenmyer was after, as she wanted to give back to the community who has helped to nurture, and support, Heart and Soul Massage Therapy the last five years.

“We feel like we’re blessed,” she said. “We want to help anyway we can. You give what you get.”