Men line up for Gift of Life program screenings

Published 1:14 pm Monday, June 26, 2017

Dozens of men poured into the Carl Parker Center Saturday morning for free health screenings, door prizes, food and a chance to meet Super Bowl legend Joe Washington, Jr.

The occasion was the “Man Enough to get Checked” event, a prostate screening event sponsored by the Julie Rogers Gift of Life program. However, between the socializing, the snacking an the chance to meet a sports celebrity, the whole event felt more like a meet and greet than a clinic visit.

Todd Broussard, a volunteer with the cancer nonprofit, said he expected a good turnout for the annual event.

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“The numbers are impressive,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of walk ins.”

Super Bowl champion and Port Arthur native Joe Washington, left, stands with client Robert Williams and Judge Donald Floyd at the Julie Rogers Gift of Life Men’s Health screening event on Saturday.
Jesse Wright/The News

Holli Petersen, a spokesperson for the group, said for some area men, this is their only checkup all year long.

“This is it, this is the only time they talk to a doctor,” she said.

Besides a prostate cancer screening, tables were set up to test of myriad other conditions, including hepatitis, high blood pressure and more.

Some of the screenings required a bit of blood drawn, but the tests required nothing more invasive than that.

“Men have this preconceived notion that you get checked with the two fingers, and this should alleviate some of that fear,” Broussard said.

Petersen pointed out that if the blood test comes back positive, there is a good chance for survival.

“If you catch prostate cancer early, there is a 100 percent survival rate for five years,” she said.

However, for men who missed the event, Saturday’s screening was the last in the county through the Gift of Life program until next year. But, Petersen explained, someone from the program could refer anyone who wants or needs a screening. To get more information, call 409-833-3663.