MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – There are many people across West Virginia that do not have access to the health services that they need.
So, for 6 years, the 3-day long Vandalia-Con has been providing medical services to those who are underinsured or uninsured.
On the second day, the convention offered a health fair, which provided screening for mouth, colon, breast and cervical cancers. In addition, there was skin damage testing, flu shots and a booth on wellness and eating healthy.
Shelly Dusic, the event coordinator, founder, and CEO said this was their first year in Morgantown because of the inclusivity of the city, which allows for health equity.
“Which means all underserved populations and part of that is bringing our health fair here where we have a LGBTQ safe space and anyone is welcome to come and get services,” Dusic said.
She said the goal is to make sure that these services are available year-round and not only for one weekend, once a year. That is why Dusic said 100 percent of the proceeds from their ticketed events at the convention go to Bonnie’s Bus and the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program.
“In the past 5 years we’ve been able to raise $25,000 for Bonnie’s Bus and we’re looking forward to keeping them on the road for a lot longer,” Dusic said.
In addition, Vandalia-Con has generated over $900,000 of support for the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. She said through her organization connections have been made with community-clinics around the state granting access to underserved populations, which in turn has saved many lives.
Dusic said the cause is personal to her because she was once in their shoes as an underserved and in need of help but did not have access to treatment.
“I was a person that at 18 years old was diagnosed with something’s wrong and I didn’t have insurance and I was on m own for the first time and I am now a 15 year cancer survivor,” she said. “It took six years for me to get connected to the resources I needed to defeat my cancer and it’s really important to me that no-one else has to go through that alone or afraid the way I did.”