ABOVE PHOTO: Faatimah Gamble
By Kendall Alexander
Encouraging Black men to take charge of their health and wellness is the mission of the Wellness Breakfast for Men on Sunday.
The 18th annual Breakfast, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Universal Institute Charter School, 1415 Catharine Street, focuses on the importance of good health, ways that men can be more proactive when it comes to taking care of themselves and their health, and the importance of doing the little things like eating well and remaining active.
After winning the prestigious Tree of Life Award from the Wellness of You organization in 1996, Universal Companies decided that it wanted to host a series of forums designed to inform the community about health and wellness, said Fatimaah Gamble, co-founder of Universal Companies.
Gamble noticed that the majority of people attending these forums were women, often the primary caretakers of the health of their husbands and families. She decided that this information needed to get to the men directly and uses the Wellness Breakfast for Men as a vehicle. Fifty men attended the first Breakfast, but this year attendance could go as high as 500 men, Gamble said.
Because the black community in general and black men in particular tend to go to the doctor less frequently it often finds itself diagnosed with life-threatening illness that could have been prevented had a primary care physician been seen in advance. Early detection is essential in these instances, and our men miss out because of fear of the unknown, Gamble said.
Gamble learned traditional remedies from her mother and grandmother at an early age and began nursing her siblings back to health. During her teen years, her mother died from leukemia at 39, and she also lost her grandparents. This led Gamble to do in depth research about on how to maintain optimum health so that she could help herself and her family live life to the fullest.
She discovered the three main components for wellness are: diet, lifestyle and exercise. Knowing these components led her to implement changes and totally transform herself. She also became proactive and wanted to share her experiences of better health through lifestyle changes.
One of the people who has benefitted most from Gamble sharing her wealth of wellness knowledge through the Wellness Breakfast for Men has been Universal Companies CEO Rahim Islam. Once upon a time, Islam was over 300 pounds. He came to the Wellness breakfast, found a wealth of health and wellness informationt, and began eating healthy and exercising religiously, something he credits with easing a lot of the illnesses that obesity had exacerbated.
In addition to lectures on wellness, and a nutritious breakfast, there will be diabetes screenings provided by Keystone Health and HIV screenings performed by BEBASHI.
Admission for the 18th annual Wellness Breakfast for Men is free, but registration is encouraged. To register, email [email protected] or call 215-732-6518 ext. 121.