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A ‘Golden Gathering’ for health and wellness

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    Ann Friedman/Columbia-Greene Media Senior citizens waiting in line at Saturday's "Golden Gathering" for senior ID cards, which list an emergency contact.
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    Ann Friedman/Columbia-Greene Media Senior citizens from across Columbia and Greene counties attended the "Golden Gathering" health and wellness fair at Columbia-Greene Community College on Saturday.
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    Ann Friedman/Columbia-Greene Media Health and wellness organizations presented information to senior citizens who passed through the "Golden Gathering."
October 14, 2017 10:32 pm Updated: October 15, 2017 12:37 am

GREENPORT — State Sen. Kathy Marchione hosted the 25th annual “Golden Gathering,” a free health and wellness fair, on Saturday at Columbia-Greene Community College.

The event featured vendors and a flu shot clinic, as well as blood pressure and hearing screenings.

The Alzheimer’s Association of America was one of the dozens of vendors at Saturday’s “Golden Gathering.”

Program Manager Molly McCann said the organization hosts support groups as well as provides support for caregivers.

“It’s important to get awareness out about the disease because early diagnosis is key,” she said. “We also want to let caregivers know that they’re not alone.”

SHARE Ovarian Cancer Helpline was also at the event to let attendees know about the symptoms that are associated with the disease, which include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating and urinary symptoms.

“About 80 to 90 percent of those diagnosed with ovarian cancer had symptoms but didn’t even realize it,” said Gwen Harding-Peets, Hudson Valley regional coordinator. “It’s important to get women to pay attention to their bodies and speak up to their doctors.”

Harding-Peets, an ovarian cancer survivor, said when she was diagnosed, there were no known symptoms.

“If I can prevent one woman from being diagnosed later then this is all worth it for me,” she said. “Women are known for helping others, but if they don’t listen to their bodies, they won’t be around to help everyone else.”

Dozens of attendees at the “Golden Gathering” waited for senior ID cards, which are a second form of identification and provide an emergency contact.

Officer B.J. Molinski of the Columbia County Sherriff’s Office said the cards help if senior citizens are lost, alone, can’t remember, or are unconscious in an accident.

“We offer it daily at the sheriff’s office free of charge,” he said. “It saves a lot of time to do them here, so I think that’s the biggest draw.”

Terry Shedrick, a truck driver from Mellenville who took advantage of the flu shot clinic at the event, said he was attending with his wife.

“My wife has an elderly mother, so we try to come every year to find out information that may help us with her,” he said. “It’s a great event to have and it’s very informative.”

Taghkanic resident Joan Dianda said she comes to the “Golden Gathering” every year.

“I love seeing my friends and finding out what’s out there,” she said. “We find out what’s available for us here and the people are so nice.”

Dianda added that after meeting with a chiropractor at Saturday’s event, she’s considering making an appointment.

“Sometimes we’re not aware of the problems we have and this helps make us more aware,” she said.