Freedom health and wellness fair planned for July 20

Published 4:46 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Educating the community about Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the benefits of staying healthy will be the central focus of a Freedom Health and Wellness Fair.

The event will be held on Saturday at Goosepond Park from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Sharon Russell, a licensed massage therapist and owner of This is Bliss LLC in Clanton organized the event in conjunction with Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) who host EveryBody Deserves a Massage Week.

Russell said this week she has been offering 20-minute massage and Reiki sessions to veterans for free and donating 10 percent off all paid massages from the week to K-9s for Veterans.

“I wanted to be able to reach more people about PTSD and how massage can help while raising more donations for K-9s for Veterans,” Russell said. “I decided to host the Freedom Health and Wellness Fair. I want this event to help our community have access to information not only about PTSD, which affects more than just our veterans) but also about health related issues and ways they can stay healthy and maybe learn something new.”

Russell said as the wife of a retired military person, she has witnessed soldiers dealing with PTSD after coming home from overseas deployment.

“As a massage therapist, I have worked with clients, both civilian and military, who struggle with this disorder,” Russell said. “When I started thinking about the community outreach and awareness that this week is geared toward, I knew I wanted to find an organization that worked with the military and dealt with issues that I work with in my practice.”

Russell searched online and asked several military personnel and found several organizations like K-9s for Veterans.

“After finding out they are located in Florida, I thought it would be close enough that if someone attended the fair wanted to apply for a PTSD dog they could make the drive so I chose them,” Russell said.

K-9 for Veterans website describes the program as a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing disabled veterans and dogs, one team at a time.

Typically, the clients are disabled veterans and soldiers who have been wounded during service and train the dogs in the K-9 for Veterans program that typically come from a rescue shelter.

Russell said the Clanton Police Department K-9 unit will be signing people up for the Yellow Dot Program on Saturday. Others attending the event include Gentiva Hospice and Advocare, doctors, home health, wellness product vendors as well as blood pressure checks and eye screenings.

Russell said there will be a location for free massages and any local massage therapist is welcome to bring their massage chair.

For more information about the event, contact Russell at (205) 312-9411.