‘WE’ works

KAPAA — “WE” may have helped save a life Friday, said Anne Chipchase of the Ohana Health Plan.

“The Project Vision van and the WE Project was at the Princeville Shopping Center when a person came in,” Chipchase said Sunday during the program’s final appearance on Kauai for 2013. “That person looked normal and said he felt fine except for a little headache. But his blood pressure reading was sky high, and we suggested he call someone to get him.”

When the ride came, they promptly took him to the emergency room.

“His pressure was super high,” said Lion Deanna Starinieri of the East Kauai Lions Club who has been with the WE Project on its two-weekend tour through Kauai. “He’s only 47 years old, so I hope he does his follow up work.”

Chipchase said it is these kinds of situations and incidents that make the program worthwhile.

“If we help save just one life, it’s worth the two weekends of being away from home,” Chipchase said. “Last year, we worked with a lady who desperately needed eye surgery.”

WE, a hui for health, is a collaboration of not-for-profit health advocacy groups, government agencies, native Hawaiian health organizations, the state’s premiere hospital, Ohana Health Plan, and the Lions Clubs throughout the state.

The WE Project brings these resources together to take the health screening caravan on the road, anchored in part by the Project Vision Van, which does retinal screenings.

“The WE team is eager to reach out to individuals in need of health screenings and to educate them that you don’t get health from the doctor, you give health to yourself,” said Elizabeth “Annie” Hiller, WE co-founder.

Starting last Thursday, the WE Project launched its two-weekend tour through Kauai at the Hanapepe Salvation Army, coinciding with its weekly Kokua Kitchen lunch program and attracting a steady crowd of people.

The Vision Van moved on to the Kukui Grove Center, where the free testing and information flow continued until the start of the mall’s Aloha Friday program featuring The Starlighters.

Established in 2011, the WE hui is based on Hawaii values and developing local relationships, states a release.

WE understands that good health is most accessible when it is based on relationships, respect and participation, providing its battery of free screenings, information, explanations and support in a number of languages.

WE originally stood for “wellness event,” but now represents “all of us who choose to stand together.”

The WE events on Kauai were made possible through the support of its participating member organizations as well as Young Brothers, the Anne Sinclair Knudsen Fund, the Lions Clubs statewide, and the Ohana Health Plan.

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