JBS wraps up week of women's health eventsWORTHINGTON — The more than 600 women employed at the JBS Worthington plant were treated to a week dedicated to their health and wellness.
WORTHINGTON — The more than 600 women employed at the JBS Worthington plant were treated to a week dedicated to their health and wellness.
Women’s Week Expo culminated Friday at JBS with a goody bag handout, and regional health representatives also provided information and answered questions.
JBS employee Victoria Blanchette came up with idea, and members of the JBS health committee helped make it possible.
Karina Ramirez, benefits coordinator for JBS and the event’s main organizer, said Friday it was originally meant for one day, but a strong response from businesses turned it into a week-long affair.
“I called different businesses and they were more than willing to donate items,” Ramirez said. “They were all very generous.”
Ashley Wheeler, a JBS classroom trainer, said it took place in October to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“A lot of these people don’t get the medical care they need,” Wheeler said. “We figure that if we can save one person, then we’re doing our job.”
Ramirez said the employee health insurance plan fully covers preventative exams. After reviewing the statistics, she found that most women weren’t taking advantage of the benefits.
“Out of 10 women that have health insurance, only three of them are actually using it,” Ramirez said. “It’s very important for us to put the word out there that you could potentially save your life.”
Kelsey Wallace, a radiologic technologist for Sanford Health of Worthington, talked to employees about breast health issues and the importance of getting yearly mammograms.
“People are very interested in what we have to offer,” Wallace said. “Breast cancer is a very scary thing — one in eight women will develop (it).”
Early detection is vital because it increases the chance of recovery, Wallace explained.
She recommends women to start getting yearly screenings at age 40, and even sooner if they have a family history of breast cancer.
Getting screened is quick, easy and painless, Wallace said.
“In all actuality, it may be uncomfortable, but (mammograms) are not painful and they don’t take long,” Wallace said, estimating the tests take about 15 minutes.
Jeremy Korver, manager of Anytime Fitness in Worthington, said he was there promoting fitness and letting employees know they can get discounted memberships.
“I’ve had a lot of people interested in the gym, and a lot of questions,” Korver said. “We’re talking to people that are interested in the gym that may not even know it’s there or where it’s at.
“Most people join a gym for health reasons,” Korver continued. “You want to live as long and healthy as you can — that’s the biggest thing.”
Allison Demuth, a JBS human resources coordinator, said the pink goody bags were a big hit. Packed inside were gift cards and various items donated from area businesses.
Ramirez said after receiving a goody bag, one woman said to her, “I haven’t gotten something for a while — I’ll keep this forever.”
Another top reason for the event was to explain the importance of health care to the different nationality groups employed by JBS, Demuth said.
To help with language barriers, Wheeler said there are translators and many bilingual employees.
“We take it day by day. Whether it’s through sign language or smiles, we can get through to our employees,” Wheeler said.
The event took about a month to plan, Wheeler said.
“It’s taken a lot of time, but we’re very happy for the results and to get the word out,” Wheeler said.
“If we’ve made a difference in one person, we’ve done our job,” she said. “We’re looking forward to doing this next year as well.”
Coming to JBS was a great way to get in contact with a large population, Wallace and Korver agreed.
“JBS employs quite a few people, so we’re able to get in touch with a lot more people than we would elsewhere,” Wallace said.
“We are working six days out of the week, so our women sometimes don’t find the time to go out to the businesses and see what’s out there,” Ramirez said.
Plans for a men’s health expo are currently under way.
Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.