Quick. Shout out the early warning signs of depression.
How about Alzheimer’s disease? Or early onset diabetes? “Many people just don’t know the early warning signs,” says Karen Colimore, president and CEO of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce. “That’s why we’re bringing together people from non-profit organizations and health-care businesses in an educational health fair. People need to know what to watch out for and what to do if they suspect a problem.”
The health fair, on Thursday, August 7, at 11:30 a.m. at the Marriott Princeton Hotel and Conference Center, also will feature the presentation by Henrik Rasmussen, vice president of clinical, medical and regulatory affairs at Novo Nordisk, called, “Diabetes: The Silent Killer” (see story above). Cost: $45. For more information call 609-924-1776, or E-mail Deborah Kilmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The idea behind the fair started about a year ago. “A member suggested we develop a health-care lunch. We want to tie health education to the regular meeting and bring in an appropriate speaker,” says Colimore.
Groups presenting information — including the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Association, Secure@Home, Cancer Care, Isagenix International, the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), and SERV Behavioral Health Systems — will have exhibits . The information these organizations will offer is on top of the insight Rasmussen will share. “We know diabetes is a growing concern,” Colimore says. “But not everyone knows the warning signs.”
The organizations will bring education, demonstrations and tips about early warning signs. “For example, the American Cancer Society will talk about skin cancer,” she says. “This is particularly relevant in the summer because we all need to learn how to better protect ourselves.” The Alzheimer’s Association will teach people about early warning signs of that disease.
A graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz, Colimore worked Yale University for 6 years. Starting out as a researcher, she went on to the school’s development office where she worked on fund-raising. She then had a several non-profit jobs in central and northern New Jersey before joining the Princeton Chamber. “It was a chance to come back to a part of New Jersey I really like, having lived here when my daughter was in elementary school,” she says.
Before taking on the top executive role at the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce two years ago, Colimore held positions at both SERV and Cancer Care. Plus she’s worked in a variety of other non-profit organizations that demonstrated the need to continually educate the public about care and prevention.
Learning about future health care is also something Colimore likes to pursue. “It’s amazing to me to know what they’re working on,” she says. “We’re getting to the point where doctors can take an image of your body and see the smallest dot that might be cancer. And then they can recommend steps to take, including removing that small spot before it grows.”
Following the passion that lets someone make a difference is not new to Colimore either. Her parents instilled it in her from an early age. Growing up in Baltimore she watched her father benefit from the local chamber of commerce. As a small business owner, he was active in the group and taught his daughter the value of being involved. “At the same time, my mom was always telling us to follow your passion,” Colimore says. “Both of them were inspiring people who encouraged us to be involved in our communities. I guess that’s a big part of why I enjoy the non-profit arena.”
Colimore expects to reach a sizable amount of the community. Approximately 150 people attended a similar health fair last August and more are expected this year.