Our Laguna: Day dedicated to keeping women healthy

May 26, 2011|By Barbara Diamond

The Laguna Beach Community Clinic is not a money-making proposition.

Fundraisers make possible needed medical and dental services for the under-insured and under-paid folks in our community.

On June 11, the clinic will host the annual Sunset Beach Party at the spectacular Twin Points estate, named for the two lushly landscaped spikes of land between Shaw's Cove and Crescent Bay.

If sipping margaritas while strolling the grounds, dancing to live music and dining al fresco isn't enough enticement to attend the party, guests can bask in the glow of knowing the price of admission will support a worthy cause.


Among the services performed by the clinic is the annual Women's Health Day, which took place Saturday at Main Beach.

More than 200 people took advantage of the free health tests and medical information offered in a temporary tent city set up on the Cobblestones.

"I was so pleased by the response," said Clinical Director Adriana Sayegh.

More than 500 tests were administered, according to event records.

"This is Adriana's baby," said Dr. Tom Bent, clinic medical director. "She found the community partners, assembled the volunteers and set up the equipment. Set up began at 5 a.m. My job was to bring coffee for Adriana."

Sayegh and nurse practitioner Karen Deck started Women's Health Day 10 years ago in the clinic's parking lot.

"That's how small it was," Sayegh said. "But we recognized the importance of having something for women who always take care of others and need to learn to take care of themselves."

Sayegh, a single mother, said she benefitted from the experience.

"Who was I to tell women to take care of themselves if I didn't?" Sayegh asked.

However, it isn't only women who benefit.

"This was a wake-up call," said Susan Neely, clinic board member who found out she is slightly anemic Saturday.

"I need to get on a healthier eating regime, and it is even more important for my husband than for me."

Tests were also administered for cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis, for which Eleanor Henry took a break from the Peace Vigil.

HIV testing was provided in a closed tent to preserve anonymity. Kim St. de Paer heads the clinic's HIV/AIDS program, which is nationally recognized. Volunteers are trained in testing and counseling, Bent said.

Twenty 20-minute tests were taken Saturday, with results available immediately accompanied by counseling.

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