Health Fair in Parksville this weekend stretches over two days

Impressive list of speakers, vendors and services part of the line-up

With more presentations, the 19th annual Oceanside Family Health and Wellness Fair is expanding to two full days this weekend.

“The main thing to highlight is the huge calibre of speakers this year,” said steering committee chair Lisa Leger.

She said they had so many good seminars and guest speakers lined up this year they added a whole second day.

Though excited about all the speakers, Leger pointed to Patrick McGowan, who heads the Chronic Disease Self-Management program, which is used across the province and is popular in this area. A professor at the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria, Leger said local health care professionals are particularly excited to hear more about his work which is proven to help people cope better, which saves the system a lot of money.

The self-management program has a bunch of local volunteers, who will also have a booth in the fair.

She said among the list of great speakers — all for free — Gary Anaka is another treat. A Special Education teacher, author and brain-based learning facilitator, Anaka is a popular public speaker and will talk about brain wellness and the secrets for longevity.

His practical workshops cover what a healthy brain needs and what brain killers to avoid, Leger said.

Other speakers include local hypnotherapist and well known youth program director Detlef Joe Friede, massage therapist Kira Sanchez of Health First, dietitian and “Simply Celiac” author Laurie Mcleod-Stephen and Allison Reeves, a registered clinical counselor, on the value of giving and receiving care.

“Rounding out the weekend Sunday will be Cobi Bothma talking about the myths and facts about food, raw or not raw, margarine or butter, all those kinds of things,” Leger said. The local naturopathic physician will help people sort through the facts and find a healthy way of eating.

The popular “Talk With The Doc” sessions return with a chance to question a local family physician about current health care issues and general medical care. Dr. Peter Haslet will discuss “End of Life Services” on Saturday morning and Dr. Mark Morris will explore “Healthy Lifestyles and Living” in the afternoon.

There will be new exhibitors along with many familiar ones with a huge array of useful information, tips and healthy samples. This year they are adding food trucks in the parking lot with the Texas BBQ and La Vida Vegan, along with returning Thrifty Foods samples and Italian biscotti in the kitchen.

MLA Michelle Stilwell will make opening remarks Saturday morning as the free fair runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 5-6 at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre. For more information, see the event schedule on pages B4-B5 in today’s paper and  visit

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