Money Problems Lead to Cancellation of BVI’s Annual Men’s Health Show | News


TORTOLA — Red Cross Director Stacy Lloyd’s phone kept ringing with calls asking for information about the annual men’s health fair in the British Virgin Islands.

Lloyd said his organization will not be hosting the fair this year – it is usually held this month – due to funding issues. It would have been the 23rd year the event had been held, with costs rising to $20,000 – a figure that could be even higher due to global supply issues, organizers said.

Lloyd said “the bulk of the cost is PSA testing” as part of prostate screenings. “We also do glucose and cholesterol tests and have to buy the strips and they are extremely expensive – plus batteries, machines and alcohol, extension cords, personal protective equipment – ​​and we do that on Tortola and Virgin Gordon.”

She added “we even charter a boat to take men from Anegada to Virgin Gorda and from Jost Van Dyke to Tortola, so it’s a huge undertaking.”

In the past, she says, the organization had a sponsor, who eventually pulled out. That year, she noted, the Red Cross had already started planning for the event and “we ended up with a bill of something like $20,000.

“It was a blow to our operations. Since then, unless we get the funding, we can’t hold the fair because we can’t afford it,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd said men in the community were looking forward to the fair, which initially stemmed from growing concern over prostate cancer. She said by the time some men are tested, it’s too late.

Former Red Cross director Edris O’Neal and others decided to do something, which started out as a simple prostate screening, but over the years grew into a fair in its own right.

“We realized with the fair that men were going out and as you know men don’t go to the doctor as much as women do, and then we started adding more elements – eye tests, we did brought in a nutritionist and a fitness specialist and recently brought in Green VI to talk about the environment – so we’re making it a fair in its own right,” Lloyd said. “And men love it. [and] I think the camaraderie and having other men around isn’t so bad.

The fair was a factor in decreasing male cancer statistics.

“What we’ve seen is prostate cancer has been found in men, and now they’re going to their doctors more and they’re paying more attention to their health,” Lloyd said “but they’re waiting looking forward to the fair, because that’s when they get their exam.

She added that there is a possibility that the fair will take place later this year.

“If we get the funding, we will do it later in the year,” she said.

Last year’s fair drew 580 men from Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. Lloyd said that since the program began, more men are going to their private doctor for screening.

Dr. John Franklin of St. Thomas told the Daily News that getting their prostate checked is very important for men.

“Just doing these exams between Tortola and Virgin Gorda, a number of gentlemen are showing signs of abnormalities,” he said. “It’s very common in our community and it’s important for guys to get tested, and it’s not just prostate,” he said. “It’s about men’s health because they have their blood pressure and blood sugar checked. It’s a testament to the guys showing up – they reflect the interest in their health and that needs to be supported.

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