Live Well Ascension offers free cancer screenings for the second year

Darian Graivshark

"Free" is a word that many of us generally can't say no to.

What's even better to get for free is cancer screenings. Often times insurances may cover little, or none, of the costs incurred for getting these exams.

Hosted by the Gonzales Area Foundation, alongside Mary Bird Perkins in Gonzales, was the second annual Live Well Ascension event on October 27 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Medical Plaza parking lot of St. Elizabeth Hospital.

The event offered free oral, breast, prostate, colorectal, and skin cancer screenings. However, for breast cancer screenings, you had to make an appointment in advance. St. Elizabeth Hospital also had an area set up for general health screenings. These ranged from BMI, blood pressure, and glucose level checks.

DeEtte DeArmond, a founding member of the Gonzales Area Foundation, said, "We're here to show the importance of early detection. We make these screenings free for the benefit of the community. We're also having it at St. Elizabeth Hospital because it's relatively a central location for people to get to."

At their first event last year, they had at least one person that was diagnosed with breast cancer that day. For this years event, they are hoping to have at least 300 people screened for different types of cancer.

Aside from the serious parts of the event, there were fun parts, too. There were giveaways happening. One item given away was a Fitbit, which was donated by Tonya and Ronnie Brown. Another item given away was free car washes.

While adults were having their screenings done, and if they brought their kids along, the kids could play in the kids zone. This offered face painting, hula hoops, and a bounce house. Some of the kids enjoyed throwing the hoops into the air and tested their skills at catching it as it came back down.

Scott Miller, the Communications Director for Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, said, "This event is part of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center's Prevention on the Go program. We bring cancer screening options and education out into the community."

They have also branched the program into the workplace, and have started offering education and screenings to workplace team members. The Cancer Center did this because research shows many individuals, who are even insured, don't take the preventative measures they need because they may not have the time with work.

Although many of us say we don't have time for something, we should always take the time out of our day to focus on our bodies. Cancer doesn't sleep, and we shouldn't wait until it's too late.

Follow Darian on Twitter @dariangshark