Visit the mall Saturday for a 'Walk for Life'

Posted 9/12/18

A comforting sign of autumn’s approach is the arrival of the annual Walk of Life Health Fair sponsored by 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc. and a slew of civic partners, both old and new.While …

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Visit the mall Saturday for a 'Walk for Life'


A comforting sign of autumn’s approach is the arrival of the annual Walk of Life Health Fair sponsored by 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc. and a slew of civic partners, both old and new.

While the change in season brings a breath of fresh air, the health fair brings with it a dose of prevention.

Less than three days away, the popular event is coming Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bradley Square Mall.

For those interested in learning more about their health, or who are anxious to get started with a healthier lifestyle, we recommend your attendance.

Here’s the real blessing: It’s free.

Now more than a decade old, the Walk of Life came as the result of 100 BMBC wishing to extend its community outreach. Already widely respected for its ongoing mentoring and scholarship initiatives, the civic group wanted to embrace another facet of our residents’ day-to-day lives; that being, our health.

Co-chairs of this year’s event include longtime BMBC member Michael Benson and Jonathan Porter, the organization’s president.

Both have long-embraced the group’s causes toward youth, education and community involvement, and each is just as thrilled to be a part of making people healthier; or, at least, giving them the opportunity to take a good look at their habits and lifestyles.

“Since the start of the chapter in 1994, the 100 Black Men of Bradley County has prided itself on mentoring numerous young men and women, and distributing more than $800,000 in scholarship money to deserving students,” Benson told our newspaper in a recent interview.

He added, “Twelve years ago, we expanded our mission with the start of the 100 BMBC Walk of Life Health Fair. This was a way for us to be of service in addressing health needs and concerns in our community.”

In its lifetime, the Walk of Life has continued to grow, not only in health-screening opportunities but also in willing partners.

New to the health fair this year will be CHI Memorial Breathe Easy Lung Coach (a mobile unit), CHI Memorial’s Mary Ellen Locher Mammography Mobile Unit (which requires pre-registration), and Digital Child Identification Printing (which will include a DNA swab, fingerprinting and voice recording).

Some of the screenings, and other opportunities, will include blood pressure testing, information about careers in healthcare, dental assistance resources, diabetes education and eye examinations, information on end-of-life care, fitness education, overall health education, health insurance options, HIV/AIDS screenings, hospice services, home-health services, prescription drug programs, prostate education, senior services, weight management, flu vaccinations, and the newest trio of programs: mammography screenings, lung screenings and the Digital Child ID kits.

Another key opportunity is voter registration.

Event organizers understand this about the health fair: Attendance involves a total experience. Yes, health and healthier lifestyles are the priority, but 100 BMBC prides itself also on serving as an inspiration for others of all ages, as well as all races, genders, faiths, interests and political beliefs.

By hosting voter registration, the organization is making the signup available for everyone who is eligible to vote, regardless of their political beliefs.

Oscar Kelley, a founding member of the health fair who has worked with it for many years, says it best when he describes it as being “… all about the person, and the person’s willingness to living a little by learning a little.”

He added, “There’s a thousand reasons for people to attend the health fair. It’s about your health, and for the people who love you, that is plenty of reason for ‘you’ to be there. It’s just that simple.”

It’s hard to argue against his reasoning.

Another willing partner behind the health fair has been, and continues to be, the Bradley Square Mall. The site is critical to the health fair’s success — as many as 500 visit the event each year — because the mall is centrally located, it is under one roof and its surroundings give visitors something to do after their health fair visit; that is, they get to go shopping … or, they can join the many who love the comfort, and security, of getting in a daily walk inside the mall.

Dropping by Saturday’s Walk for Life Health Fair is the right thing to do.

Questions about this weekend’s event may be directed to Benson at 423-368-9258 or Porter at 423-596-0740.

We urge a strong attendance.

Borrowing from Kelley’s reasoning, do it for yourself … but also do it for others.


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