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LGBTQ+ Community Wellness and Health Fair provides free screenings

NHRMC and Novant Health celebrate Pride Month
Published: Jun. 26, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - June is Pride Month and while the month may be coming to a close, groups in southeastern North Carolina are still celebrating.

At St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church, there was an opportunity for those in the LGBTQ+ community to receive medical advice in a safe environment.

“There is a large LGBTQIA+ community in Wilmington - one that historically has been underserved in the healthcare realm,” said Terri DeWees, the Director of Trauma Services for Novant Health-NHRMC.

That’s why Novant Health and New Hanover Regional Medical Center helped sponsor the LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Fair. It was an opportunity for those in the community to receive free glucose and A1C testings, blood pressure checks, and mammogram screenings - tests that medical professionals say are important.

“All those things that sometimes we think because we feel okay, we are not okay, and this is an opportunity to connect,” said DeWees. “We will then be able to help connect with affirming providers in the area and just make a difference.”

HIV screenings were available too - a virus that affects over a million people in our country.

“In our efforts altogether, everyone should know their status to end the HIV epidemic, so this is why we are here today,” said Leshonda Wallace, the Executive Director of SEEDS of Healing, an HIV awareness and advocacy organization.

It was also a time of fellowship after a year like none other.

“We’ve been pretty much hemmed up for the past year plus and seeing old friends and making new friends is part of today,” said DeWees.

There was even a group of moms giving free hugs.

“If we can hug away a little bit of the trauma that comes along with coming out and being accepted, then that’s what we are going to do,” said Juli Harvey, who was giving hugs.

At the end of the day, those working at the event wanted the LGBTQ+ community to feel loved.

“We want people to leave today feeling supported and knowing that they have access to care,” said Wallace.

Other groups involved in making the event happen were the Frank Harr Foundation and the NHRMC STAR Business Resource Group.

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