Monday, March 11, 2013

Facing 40: Be An Ironman

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

For five years now, men in southern Illinois have had a chance to get a better handle on their health at the Southern Illinois Men's Health Conference.  Each year, men from age 18 up into their 90's have made the conference a part of their schedule.  For $45, men get breakfast, lunch, and a battery of potentially life saving medical screenings.  There are blood draw for things like diabetes, cholesterol, and heart disease risk assessment.  Men can also have their hearing, vision, and skin checked by a handful of professionals.

Blood pressure screening
That's all in the first part of the morning.  The day also includes three breakout sessions.  Each one of those sessions has four to five classes to chose from.  This year men can learn more about handgun safety, healthy grilling, and being a better father.  There are also traditional sessions on prostate health, lung cancer, and heart disease.

It's Never Too Late
Dr. Edwin Wolfgram
Things wrap up with a lunch and keynote address from former Ironman champion Dr. Edwin Wolfgram.  He's competed in several Ironman competitions while in his 70's.  Now in his early 80's, Wolfgram still takes part in triathlons.  He'll remind men on Saturday, March 23 that It's Never Too Late.

The conference is a labor of love for me.  Months of planning are spent getting speakers in place, sponsors on board, and the media to cover us.  I've been the cochair since the inception of the event, and I'm proud to be a part of it.  It's a great way to reach out to hundreds of men in our region who might not normally see a doctor.  I know for a fact that we've helped some of our participants catch a medical condition that they were able to get a followup with their physician.

Free massages too!
This is where I give my confession.  I've been using the conference for the last five years as a replacement for seeing a regular physician.  Luckily, each year my cholesterol numbers have come back normal and I've not had any other conditions to worry about.  But now that I'm Facing 40 (6 days and counting) I am in the hunt for a regular doctor too.  It's something we encourage with the conference, so I need to practice what I preach.

Ladies, if you're still reading, encourage the men in your life to sign up.  Men of all ages are invited to attend.  There will be prizes given away and we'll also honor my colleague with the conference Tom Corpora as the fifth recipient of the Champions Award.  If you have any questions, head here for more details or just ask me.  You can also call (618) 985-9210.

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