By Sue Ellen Ross Post-Tribune correspondent February 22, 2013 4:08PM
Attendees do the Cha-Cha Slide in memory of long-time event supporter Eva Tokarz at the Day of Dance for Your Health event. The Spirit of Women Hospital Network program was hosted by Franciscan Health. | Scott M. Bort~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 26, 2013 6:11AM
Friends Mary Walker and Hattie Black get together every weekend for fun times, with each of them alternating the choice of destination. One recent Sunday found the Gary ladies at the second annual Day of Dance for Your Health at the Radisson Hotel in Merrillville.
Sponsored by the Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Hospitals, visitors found a full day of activity, with vendors, healthy snacks, physician talks, health screenings, medical information packets, and dance demonstrations among items on the agenda.
“We’re going to do it all. We’re getting older, so it’s important to look at what we can do to help stay healthy,” Walker said as she picked up health pamphlets. “You can never have too much information about taking care of yourself and your family.”
After taking part in the many screenings offered, Donna Zazk of Schererville settled in with dozens of others in a meeting room to listen to Dr. Michael Nicholas, a cardiovascular interventionist, during the “Dessert with the Docs” portion of the agenda.
“It’s a good idea for women to find out about their heart health,” Zazk said. “There’s always something important for us to learn on this topic.”
Among the dozens of tables set up around the hotel, information on smoking cessation, diabetes, and other health issues were offered.
“I’ve wanted to stop smoking for quite a while, it’s really hard,” said Jerrie Jackson of Hobart as she approached some of the nurses present. “Whatever ideas they can give me, I’m game.”
Day of Dance is a national program of the Spirit of Women Hospital Network. Last year’s Day of Dance drew about 800 participants.
This year, as the steady stream of guests continued throughout the day in various sections of the hotel, it looked like that number would easily be topped.
She found on stage members of the Premiere Dance Studio of Schererville, and Eclipse Performing Arts of Chesterton.
Local professional instructors presented other dances and exercise moves, including Zumba, Body Vibe and Body Flow. Hundreds of visitors observed the action in the Celebrity Ballroom.
Volunteer Pati Monaco, of Crown Point, mingled with people during the afternoon, dispensing information and giving directions to the various agenda items.
“I’ve come to this event before as a participant. It’s wonderful for women and families, and well worth the time,” Monaco said. “It gets bigger and better every year.”