LISBON - The concern about the health of individuals in Columbiana County shown by Bonnie Hoppel when she was alive, will now carry on after her death earlier this summer.
Barbara Knee, director of nursing at the county health department, reported to the board last week the Hoppel Rodeo Committee has made what Knee described as "a generous donation" in Bonnie Hoppel's memory.
Knee explained to the board that the first time Hoppel was diagnosed with cancer it was found at the health department. At one point, Hoppel had been involved at the local health department and spent her career working as a nurse and health educator both in the area and on the state level.
About two decades ago, Hoppel came to the health department for her flu shot. Knee said she talked Hoppel into getting a mammogram while she was there, even though she had just had one the year before at her doctor's office. Often doctors only do mammograms every other year.
In this case, getting the extra mammogram may have extended Hoppel's life for another 20 years. Cancer was found and Hoppel was treated and was well for the next 11 years. At that point she was found to have bone cancer. She survived that for an additional nine years before her death in July at the age of 61.
Knee declined to provide a dollar amount of the donation, but talked about the numerous people who provided efforts at the rodeo this year to collect money in Hoppel's memory. Knee said the money will be used to help those who come to the health department for cancer screenings, adding sometimes people do not qualify financially for some of the programs which provide free screenings. Knee said she never wants to turn anyone away. Hoppel was the wife of Columbiana County Commissioner Jim Hoppel.
In other matters before the board of health last week:
- Health Commissioner Wesley Vins reminded residents about the salmonella scare involving Southeast Indiana cantaloupes. He noted the best defense is to always wash the outside of the melon thoroughly before cutting into it with the knife, which can spread anything on the outside into the melon.
- Kevin and Renee Barley, who own a duplex on state Route 172, Hanoverton, complained about the health department and sanitarian Lori Barnes making them replace their entire septic system a few years ago, while allowing their neighbors to pump out their tanks recently. The Barleys complained it cost them more than $19,000 for their repair and they believe pumping out their tanks would have accomplished the same thing.
Vins stood up for Barnes after the meeting, stating she and another employee, Laura Faust, are both very good at understanding different types of septic tanks, household use and other situations, looking for the most cost-effective way to solve a health issue. Additionally, Vins said landlords are not permitted to do the work themselves and have to hire a contractor, which does cost more money. He credited Barnes with being a big part of the success of the program to resolve county septic issues.
- With a new strain of the swine flu, H3N3, Vins said there have been 95 confirmed cases in the state. Many are due to swine-human contact, which Vins said could be linked to county fairs. The flu vaccine the health department is receiving this year does not contain the H3N3 variant.