West New York health fair attracts Hudson County’s underserved and uninsured


“I have diabetes, Crone’s disease and all this stuff, so I thought it’d be a good idea to check everything and see what’s up today,” says Weehawken resident, Salvatore Viviano, Jr.

“I came to check my blood pressure, diabetes, dentist, eyes,” Olga Martinez, of Union City says, adding that she really appreciates the town doing this.

Many community members rely on the health fair once a year to get checked and catch things early if possible.

“We run a blind camp, we recycle eye glasses, we help run the Eye Bank of New Jersey for transplants and things like that and anywhere we can offer help,” says Mike Pacala, board vice-chair of Eversight New Jersey.

They want to make sure the public they’re servicing… the underserved and underinsured get everything for their healthcare needs

“They’re our people; it’s our community,” says Nikki Mederos, director of external affairs at Hackensack University Medical Center, Palisades.  “Our community, our hospital and we want to make sure that we collaborate with other clubs in the area – of course, especially, the Lions.”

“Once we see that we can help everybody, they can gain so much information,” says Marie Nieto, past president of the West New York Cuban Lions Club.

It’s important to go to the doctor to find out what’s going on in your body and be 
an educated patient.

“I joined the Lion’s Club so I’m helping with these people, ‘cause I like to help,” says Mirka Gonzalez, of Union City.

The health fair continues year after year.

“It’s good for the community, so whoever can’t afford to go to the hospital to do those things, we’re doing here the whole thing,” says Raymond Feurtado, a 40-year veteran of the Lion’s Club.

This is a valuable resource.

“Many people have their problems, they need to check up on their health and it’s a very nice thing that we have this,” Viviano says.

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Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time, Jillian enjoys yoga; working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. Follow on Twitter @JillianRis


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