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Volunteer Doctors, Dentists Giving Free Screenings and Check-ups At CARE Fair

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –  If you or your kids haven’t seen a doctor or dentist in a while, or ever, you have a great chance tonight or tomorrow.  Volunteer doctors, dentists and students in health care are giving free screenings and check-ups for medical issues that might otherwise go ignored.  This is the 27th year the Junior League of Salt Lake City is putting on the Community Assistance and Resource Event (CARE) Fair at the Horizonte Center on Main Street.

Everyone from infants to the elderly can come in and get critical dental and medical screenings.

“There are a lot of people in our communities who are uninsured and don’t have access to medical care,” said Dr. June Steely,  director of the CARE Fair for the Junior League.  If not for this free, two-day clinic, many of today’s patients would have no health care at all.  “We bring it all together in one place here.”

Carlos Padilla came in for a health screening because he’s a boxer and wants to make sure he’s fit.  But, the busy 20-year-old doesn’t have time for appointments with the doctor and paperwork.

“Not only that, you have to worry about expenses,” he said.  “A physical exam can range anywhere from $50-$100.”

That’s why he came in for free health screenings that he knows plenty of his peers are skipping.

“It’s recommended that I get a yearly check up, especially at my age,” he said. “Twenty-years-old, you never know what’s going to happen.”

No ID or insurance is required at the fair.  The idea is to help families needing routine medical, dental and eye care get the attention they need before it’s too late.

“If we can find a small medical problem and help them fix it before turns into a big problem, then it is a lot less expensive to deal with and they don’t suffer as much, of course,” said Steely.

Some patients are getting their first healthcare ever, others are seeing a doctor or a dentist for the first time in a long time. Too many Utah families don’t get the basic healthcare they need because they face language, financial, or transportation barriers.

 “To be able to do it for a population that needs it and deserves it so much really means a lot to me,” said Kaitlyn Glaspie, a nursing student, who said she couldn’t imagine a better way to spend her Friday.

Last year, more than 2600 patients came in for care.  Dental care is among the greatest needs.

“People come in, it hurts, they’re not happy,” said Dr. Lee My, a dentist volunteering his time and expertise.  “But, when they come out, you’ve done something for them, they’re happy, confident, smiling.”

The Junior League even has vouchers for follow up medical and dental care that exceeds what the healthcare professionals can do here today.

Last year, more than 2600 patients came in for care, and organizers expect at least that many this year, too.  The volunteers who are donating their services, and the financial donors who helped put on this event, are committed to helping those in our community who need it the most.

All services are first come, first served and no appointments are necessary.  Free childcare is provided while parents are getting helped.  There are translators for several different languages to help the immigrant and refugee population, who often don’t have access to healthcare.

The CARE Fair is open tonight until 8 o’clock.  Tomorrow the fair will open again at the Horizonte Instruction and Training Center at 1234 Main Street in Salt Lake City 9 AM through 5 PM.

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