Free health care draws big crowd to Overlake Hospital

The phrase “free health care” is bound to attract people in droves.

That’s how things played out when Overlake Hospital hosted its first Eastside Vitality Community Health Fair last week.

The thought of free, convenient check-ups was enough to attract over 600 visitors. The event featured no-cost screenings, seminars, food, demonstrations, and giveaways.

“We knew it would be big, but we kind of got a sense when there were 20 people lined up at the doors half an hour before we opened up,” said Overlake spokesman Patrick Moody.

It was the first opportunity for Overlake to show off its new education center, built in 2008. The facility is designed for training, conferences, and community outreach.

All 21 chairs in the waiting room were filled throughout most of the event as visitors filed in for cholesterol screenings, skin-cancer spot checks, stroke-risk assessments, and a variety of other tests.

“This is something we want to do every year,” Moody said. “It’s a great service for the community.”

Visitors talked about the benefits of having a one-stop shop for their health checks.

“It’s easier to come here and get all the screenings done at once rather than schedule separate appointments,” said Redmond resident Judy Steurich. “Besides, free is a very good price.”

Bellevue resident Ray Webber, 78, said he’s prone to procrastinating on most of the recommended check-ups for people his age.

“This is a good impetus to get off your couch and get a lot of things checked at once,” he said.

Children were welcome at the health fair as well. Around 30 youngsters worked their way through the Kid Zone, which featured scoliosis screening, experiments, fitness tests, and games like “The Pulse is Right.”

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