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"Defeat Hep C" campaign in Waterfire spotlight this Saturday
By Chris Barnett / July 31, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...

A statewide campaign to eliminate hepatitis C in Rhode Island will offer people free, confidential screenings at Waterfire this Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11:30 pm on Steeple Street in downtown Providence. It’s the second straight year that 2013 Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship recipient Dr. Lynn Taylor is collaborating with Waterfire to focus attention on her "RI Defeats Hep C" campaign.

Baby boomers are most at risk. Hep C was only identified in 1989, so just by virtue of growing up in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, thousands of Rhode Islanders may have the deadly disease. The symptoms can take decades to emerge, so most people have no idea they are infected. A recent study in Massachusetts found that the average age of death is 53 and the average length of time from diagnosis to death is three years.

“Hep C is everyone’s problem. We all have a spouse, a partner, a grandparent, a child, a neighbor, a colleague, a friend with Hepatitis C. This is a disease that really takes people at the peak of their lives,” Dr. Taylor says. “We’re coming together to celebrate unprecedented advances, primarily in curative, safe therapies that can cure most people, most of the time. We can be the first state to eliminate this epidemic; save lives, reduce suffering, reduce illness, keep families together, keep families in the workplace.”

The screenings are just part of an evening of Hep C-related activities, including a resource fair and special performances by Rose Weaver and Greg Abbate on the WaterFire Music Stage.

Made possible through the vision and generosity of philanthropists Letitia and John Carter, our Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship program awards two applicants up to $300,000 apiece over three years to develop, test and implement inventive proposals that have the potential to move the state forward.


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