03-30-11-better-health-logo.gifIt doesn’t take a lot of study to find that many Americans are not always vigilant about their health and taking care of themselves. Of course, there are a variety of reasons for this...laziness, lack of understanding, stressful lives, lack of funds for medical care, you name it. In many cases it doesn’t have to be that way. There are people and resources out there ready to encourage, educate and advocate for individuals in their quest for better health and a better quality of life — and to help get folks back on the road to better living.

Better Health is just one of those organizations. Its mission is to provide for the unmet healthcare needs of Cumberland County residents through assistance, referral and education. The organization seeks to “impact the quality of life for all Cumberland County residents, through a commitment to improving access and availability of health care services for the under-served, low-income resident.”

Better Health has been meeting that goal since 1958 and has no plans to stop anytime soon. It takes money though, and being a nonprofit, there never seems to be enough of it to go around.

On Saturday, April 9, Better Health is hosting its 14th Annual Evening at the Theater at Highland Country Club.

The entertainment “A Gleeful Evening at the Theater” features local musical theater talent, including students from Terry Sanford and Fayetteville Academy. The piece is produced and directed by Cassandra Vallery and will feature a wide range of songs.

“This is our fifth year to do a live musical show and our 14th for an Evening at the Theater,” said Judy Klinck. “About fi ve years ago Cassandra Vallery, who is one of the local theater performers, put together a show, and it was just such a hit that she has done it every year since. She uses some of the volunteer theater talent in the community and puts together a really professional show. It is sort of a little cabaret-style song and a little bit of dance. We have serious romantic songs and the comedic songs. It all adds up to a real nice evening.”

Attendees can look forward to beverages and hors d’oeuvres before the show and coffee and dessert following. Usually about 200 people attend the event and this year, Klinck hopes, will be not exception as the goal for the event is to raise $38,000, which will be used to support all four of Better Health’s programs.

Fifty-three years ago the organization founded a fi nancial-assistance program, which is designed to fi ll the gap for people with little or no medical insurance. It covers both medical and dental concerns, but the program is need based. Last fiscal year, this program helped 1,217 individuals.

The diabetes program is something that Better Health is well known for. It is a full program that includes a diabetes management class covering everything from A to Z related to diabetes, and includes weekly monitoring classes. This program is free to everyone in Cumberland County. Last fi scal year 370 people were served.

Closely related to the diabetes program is the healthy lifestyle program that reaches out to organizations and churches and will provide speakers to cover healthy living issues.

A medical equipment loan program is another popular service offered by Better Health and it is also free of charge to Cumberland County citizens. People donate medical equipment that they no longer need — things like walkers, wheelchairs and bath chairs — and Better Health loans the equipment to those in need of such devices. Last fi scal year 280 people benefi tted from this program.

Seeing those numbers makes it clear to Klinck that there is a strong need for the programs that Better Health provides.

“We feel that we really do have an impact on the community, especially with folks who have diabetes and are uninsured or where there is a gap in their insurance that is not being fi lled,” said Klinck , adding that “We don’t want to be the best kept secret in town. We’ve been operating for 53 years and we are glad for this opportunity to be exposed to people who haven’t heard of us.”

Tickets are $175 per couple or $100 per individual. Funds from the show will benefi t Better Health. Last year, because of the generosity of the community Better Health provided diabetes education to 365 people and emergency assistance for medical needs to 1,435 families in Cumberland County.

Call 483-7534 or visit www. betterhealth.CC.org. to make a reservation.

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