The McDuffie County Health Fair has become a labor of love for Dot Cofer.
"To be honest, it's just my Christian contribution, I guess, to the community," said the Health Fair coordinator, who is busy planning her 27th annual event, which will be held April 17 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Thomson High School.
As in previous years, the fair will have around 45 educational booths manned by medical professionals offering free consultations, in addition to several medical tests to be administered by local nurses and physicians.
Ms. Cofer said that the most popular test is the blood chemistry test, which for only $18 detects problems related to cholesterol, diabetes, electrolyte fluid balance, and more.
"The main thing people want with this is the lipid profile, which gives you both the good and bad cholesterol, but at the same time, you get so much more," said Ms. Cofer.
Other tests include hemoglobin, prostate cancer and thyroid checkups.
Ms. Cofer said that the low-priced tests sometimes serve as major wakeup calls for some people.
"We've found serious problems with people that have come to the health fair," she said.
The educational booths will cover everything from fire safety to cancer detection to water quality and will also provide a forum where doctors can answer patients' questions.
"They can get more in depth and answer questions better as people come around to the exhibits," said Ms. Cofer. "All these exhibitors, you'll go from booth to booth and talk to doctors and nurses and professionals who'll be manning these 45 booths. That's why they're there, to answer questions."
Ms. Cofer started the McDuffie County Health Fair 27 years ago when she served as the area's extension agent.
"Back in those days, extension was having health fairs all over the state. So I started mine, and it was successful," she said.
Now, almost 30 years later, she's still changing with the times. She said that around half of the booths are new this year, while one of last year's new additions -- mini-lectures given by doctors -- is returning. Topics will include sleep apnea, diabetic and general foot care, cataract surgery and asthma. Each one will last around 20 minutes and will be repeated throughout the day.
Ms. Cofer also said that she wants people to attend as many booths as they can during the day, and as a result, those that visit 15 booths or more will be entered in a drawing for $100.
"That's just an incentive for them to visit around," she said.