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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

Wellness and Health Fair creates safe space for LGBTQ+ community

This past weekend's community wellness fair aimed to create a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.
Mattie Holloway
This past weekend's community wellness fair aimed to create a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.

The parking lot of St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church was full on Saturday. But the crowd wasn’t there for a sermon, they were there to attend the LGBTQ+ Community Wellness and Health Fair.

Terri Dewees, one of the event’s leaders, said the event had broad-ranging goals.

“We don't want to put ourselves just in that healthcare box. Yes, we are a healthcare provider. But overall, our goal is community wellness, as opposed to community health care," Dewees said.

Some of their partners of the event included the Frank Harr Foundation and Seeds of Healing — all share the goal of creating a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community through health care and resources.

The event provided health screenings and glucose testing for patients. Sarah Arthur, manager of community engagement at NHRMC hopes to provide judgment-free services tailored for the LGBTQ+ community.

“We have people that are assisting with, if you don't have insurance, you can come here for... connection with a health care provider, we have those that are providing mental health services. And then we have our hospital team here offering the health screenings so that you can really get on track with knowing if you have a concern, and then getting connected for long-term care," Arthur said.

Although the event took place during pride month, Terri and her colleague Amber Woodard agree that events like these should take place year-round.

“Pride isn't just one month, it's something that needs to be celebrated and honored and talked about all year long. So I think that's what we really strive to do is to keep that focus on the needs of the community, not just at Novant Health Regional Medical Center, but the entire region in the area," Woodard said.

Dewees added, “I'll share a little analogy, my wife and I say that every day is Valentine's Day. So every day is pride day.”

Mattie Holloway is a North Carolina native from Emerald Isle. She is a rising junior at Emerson College majoring in writing, literature, and publishing. Mattie has interned for Public Radio East; she is part of Emerson’s honors program; and writes for her school’s lifestyle magazine, Atlas. When she’s not working, Mattie enjoys going to the beach, trying to find the perfect cup of coffee, and receiving book recommendations.