COLUMBUS (WCMH) – One of the biggest health awareness campaigns in Columbus made its in-person return Saturday.
Last year’s African American Male Wellness Walk was held virtually, but this year, it returned to Livingston Park.
The event is all about bringing health awareness among men, specifically African American men, as they are 10 times more likely to die from preventable diseases. The event and the organization behind it, the African American Male Wellness Agency, aim to change that narrative.
“Today is a day of celebration,” said Marlon Platt, executive director of the African American Male Wellness Agency.
Most importantly, it’s a day to remind people about the importance of prioritizing one’s health and reminding others about the challenges many face in the healthcare system, like being uninsured or not having trust in health providers.
“This is a way for those insured and uninsured to get the proper screening, so they can potentially get the treatment and medication they need to keep their health in check,” said participant James Price.
It’s why organizers and local partners make sure each year isn’t only about the 5K, but taking advantage of the free health screening offered and learning more about how to stay healthy.
“Heart disease is the number one killer for African American men,” said Columbus Public Health Director Dr. Mysheika Roberts. “It’s also the number one killer for men in general. We know heart disease can be controlled with exercise, a proper diet, reducing stress; those are all things we have to work on.”
In addition to screenings and other medical information, COVID-19 vaccinations were available to all eligible attendees.
Marcus Ross was one of many doing his part at the event and is hoping others will consider doing their part as well.
“I just wanted to come out and be supportive of the event,” Ross said.
Columbus Division of Police Assistant Chief Lashanna Potts said that although Saturday was her first time being part of the walk, she’s happy to be among her new community and being part of a bigger conversation.
“I want people to be healthy and live their best life,” Potts said.
NBC 4, led by Kerry Charles and Matt Barnes, was also there to show its support.