The group gathered at 11:30 to listen to brief messages from former Philadelphia Health commissioner Dr. Walter Tsou; current Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Donald Schwarz; along with Professor Raymond Lum, Drexel University School of Public Health; Chari Cohen, MPH, Associate Director of Public Health of the Hepatitis B Foundation, and Dr. Timothy Block, Volunteer President, Hepatitis B Foundation, and Professor, Drexel University College of Medicine, who addressed the group. This was a great forum to raise awareness of Hepatitis B, and urge the public to be screened and vaccinated.
As the clock-ticked down to the final minutes, the sun beamed and particpants waited in anticipation to reveal their “secret” to the world.
Richard Liu, MPH, rallied the crowd….
“Everyone has a secret.
Someone you know has Hepatitis B.
You can fight hepatitis B and liver cancer.
Reveal your secret.
B A Hero!”
The bull-horn blew at noon, and the crowd stripped off their jackets and cover-ups, revealing their blue T-shirts emblazoned with a superman-like emblem with a big, red “B” in the shield, all the while chanting:
”B A Hero! Get Screened! Get Vaccinated!”
The crowd was charged with energy. The chanting continued. Some ran about with their B A Hero T-shirts, and red capes.
One group of elderly adults quietly displayed their support, wearing their T-shirts. Guest speakers were interviewed. One group of students performed an educational, ”Hep B Rap”.
The message was clear. Hepatitis B is a serious problem, and the public needs to be screened for hepatitis B. There are effective drugs for those identified, and may be in need of treatment. There is a safe and effective vaccine. We need to ensure vaccination against hepatitis B for young and old, and especially those in high risk groups.
It was great to have media coverage at the event. We were thankful to have KYW News Radio, CBS, Fox and ABC in attendance to help spread the word to a broader, listening group. This was a wonderful event for Hep B Free Philly, the Hepatitis B Foundation, Hepatitis Awareness Month and the community.
Now it’s time to do your part. Be an educator, and help raise hepatitis B awareness. Be sure everyone you know has been screened and vaccinated for HBV.
B A Hero today!