For its 65th year of existence in the territory, the BVI Red Cross will be aiming to kick off 2021 with one of its major initiatives – the Men’s Health Fair, which has screened more than 8,000 males in the territory to date.
BVI Red Cross Director Stacy Lloyd said the organisation will be aiming to host the event in late January into early February.
Lloyd also highlighted the significance of the initiative which screen men for many health-related diseases including prostate cancer — one of the leading causes of death in local males.
“It’s not for profit. It’s something that we just do because we know it’s a need. The men look forward to it as it’s an opportunity for just men to come out and do their health checks, they’re not afraid, they talk to each other, they have a good time,” Lloyd told BVI News.
“Men would come and get a full health screening, we would send over the tests [to St Thomas, USVI], the results would return and they would get the results. So we check your sugar, your blood pressure. We invite different physicians to demonstrate nutrition, exercising, cardiovascular health, eye screening – we check for glaucoma – it’s a complete health check,” she explained.
Event grew significantly
Director Lloyd also said the success of the fair has seen it growing significantly over the years since it was first held back in 1998.
“It started off as a prostate screening and so the whole idea was just to test men across the territory. Men didn’t like to go to the doctor and we realised that there was a very growing case of prostate cancer in the Virgin Islands and our then-director decided to do a prostate screening for men,” Lloyd stated.
“The fair has gotten so big and has been so successful that we no longer host it at Red Cross. We’re trying to do it at the Multipurpose Centre because it’s bigger and of course we need to be able to do social distancing, etcetera,” she added.
Seeking sponsors and donors to assist with $20k bill
While the fair is completely free to all males attending for screening, there still exists overheads to host the event. Lloyd approximates these expenses to be around $20,000.
The director is appealing to all potential sponsors or donors to reach out to the BVI Red Cross and contribute whatever they can to assist with the successful hosting of the fair.
She said: “It costs about $20,000 to do the entire fair so when we do the prostate screening and we send away to get the results, that’s the most expensive part. We have to pay for the venue where we’re having it, we have to pay for the doctors to come over,” she said.
“The doctors don’t charge us to come because we have three doctors who come in from St Thomas and another who comes over on a boat all free of charge. But, of course, we have to provide accommodations and we have to feed them. We also have to pay for the tents, chairs, medical supplies which all comes up to about $20,000,” Lloyd explained.
The Men’s Health Fair is just one of the many community-based initiatives that the BVI Red Cross intends to host as it celebrates its 65th year of servicing the needs of the territory.
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