More than 800 people took part in the 3rd Annual 5K Walkathon and Health Fair that was organized by the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa Health Ministry last Jan. 25 at the Kristo Rai Church in Garapan.
One of the health ministry’s coordinators, Glorybel Tan, said the walkathon stems from one of Bishop Ryan Jimenez’s missions, which is to inspire people to be healthier
“He [Jimenez] is not only interested in the spiritual health of the parishioners but also their physical health,” she said. Jimenez is the bishop of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, where the Mount Carmel Cathedral is located.
Despite the rain, Tan described the event as a success. She said it has always rained in the past two years that they had staged the event, so this time they were more prepared, with tables and tents set up in the middle of the Kristo Rai Church and its social hall.
“What makes this [walkathon] a success is the partnership we have with many health care providers,” said Sherwin Passillos, another coordinator of the health ministry.
Last year, the walkathon had a station for blood pressure and sugar check. This year they included a station for immunization and eye check.
“It’s important to have these services available during the walkathon because not a lot of people have insurance or time to go to the hospital/clinic,” said Tan. “We encourage people with special needs or people with disabilities and even our elderly to avail of this service, so that no one is left behind.”
The health care services were available to everyone and not just for those who participated in the walkathon.
“We want to encourage the community to join us next year,” said Tan. “We know that everyone has a New Year’s resolution in January, so this is our way to encourage them to be fit throughout the year.”
In addition to the free health care services, all walkathon participants also took part in a Zumba exercise to warm up before the walk from the Kristo Rai parking lot to Quartermaster Road and back.
The Diocese of Chalan Kanoa Health Ministry credits its many sponsors: the Tan Siu Lin Foundation, IT&E, Commonwealth Health Care Corp., Division of Public Health and Wellbeing, Kagman Community Health Center, 3Hi-Res Designs, Northern Marianas Colleges’ Nurses Association, Saipan Ice & Clean, JC Tenorio Enterprises Inc.d, S.T.a.R Water, Marianas Eye Institute, Triple J, Barney’s Pizza, Commonwealth Cancer Association, and Hardt Eye Clinic.