Getting fit and getting healthy — that was the focus of the more than 100 vendors participating in Saturday’s Lifestyle Expo at the Waxahachie Civic Center.
“We are focusing more on the individual because a healthy individual is a happy individual, and that’s t hey have better attendance, their quality of life is better,” said Debra Wakeland, the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce CEO and president. “I’m really thrilled that the community, it seems like with each business, whether it’s a title company or bank, they are all kind of focusing on getting fit and getting healthy.”
This was represented by the newest vendor, the Moncrief Cancer Institute’s Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic, the first Texas mobile cancer survivor clinic, a $1.1 million custom-built 18-wheeler delivering one-on-one exercise sessions, nutrition counseling, cancer screenings, and high-tech telemedicine to cancer patients and survivors in Ellis County.
The Waxahachie Chamber of Comments Lifestyle, Business, Health and Wellness Expo went from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event featured auto businesses, jewelry, clothes, home improvement, door prizes, children activities and more, as well as A Taste of Ellis County, food samples from throughout the area.
For Waxahachie resident Melissa Boggs, Saturday was another chance to spend some time with her children and get them involved with the community. She’s attended the expo with her children for the past five or six years, and each year, they find something new, she said. One year, her daughter found a vendor offering a free month’s worth of karate, which opened the door for her daughter to try something new for a little while, she said.
“It’s just something fun to do. You see what all is out there, maybe stuff you didn’t know about,” Boggs said. “Seeing who is out here is the biggest benefit of the expo. I work for H-E-B, so H-E-B always does a big thing, you know? And there’s been vendors that are here that I don’t realize are actually in Waxahachie.”
But the Moncrief mobile unit had an immediate impact on Boggs, she said.
“I didn’t know that was out and about,” she said. “My mom had breast cancer at one time, and her mother passed away from ovarian cancer,” Boggs said. “So, cancer on both side of our family runs pretty rapid. It’s something important for us to keep our eye on. It’s really nice, and they say the come to Ennis twice a month, so that means you don’t have to go to Dallas or wherever to get what you might need ot to the doctors you might need to see, which is important.”
The chamber representatives held a ribbon cutting for the mobile unit as part of the expo, to recognize the unit operators as part of the town’s chamber membership. And an open house followed.
Moncrief Cancer Institute’s Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic will visit Ennis Regional Hospital twice monthly beginning in May, according to a press release. Ellis is one of nine rural North Texas counties where an estimated 15,000 uninsured and underserved cancer survivors often don’t have convenient access to cancer experts and related facilities, the release stated. The clinic will offer nutrition counseling, colon cancer screenings, private exam rooms, exercise facilities for personalized training, and high-speed telemedicine links to psychologists, genetic counselors and other cancer experts. Most services are free of charge to patients and survivors, no matter when they were diagnosed.
Stephanie Dyer, an Oncor administrative assistant, said her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2013. She was in between the age of being out of work, but not retirement ager to draw Medicare. She didn’t have insurance from her last job and was just “kind of winging it,” said Dyer.
“For some reason, Moncrief just came out of the blue. We went to Moncrief and talked to the counselor there, and they assisted with getting her Medicaid for breast cancer, and they helped her set up appointments with Texas oncology,” she said during the ribbon cutting. “Throughout her whole diagnosis, they stayed in touch with us every step of the way to make sure that she was taken care of, that everything was coming through with her progress. Moncrief, for some reason, they were just like an angel that fell out of the sky. If it wasn’t for them, then I wouldn’t have been able to have my mother around as long as I did.”
When the war on cancer really took off in the 1970s, people lived less than five years after their initial diagnosis, and now two out of three people live longer than the five years, said Dr. Keith Argenbright, Moncrief Cancer Institute’s director and associate professor at UT-Southwestern Medical Center, which the mobile unit tied to.
“Although we’re really helping them heal, we’re not quite as good in helping them get back to where they were before, and that’s what those whole unit is all about,” he said. “It’s about the survivors and getting back where you were before.”
With the mobile unity offering testing on site, Wakeland said if one individual is helped, then that’s all that matters. For more information, visit www.moncrief.com/survivors or call 800-405-7739 to schedule an appointment.