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Walk-a-thon proceeds to help renovate mobile medical unit
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A 5-mile walk can do wonders to your health. It can also make a big difference in other people’s lives.

An opportunity to achieve both is being offered by the Manteca Pregnancy Help Center. On Saturday, April 27, the non-profit organization will have its 2nd annual 5K walk-a-thon fund-raiser. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. at the Northgate Community Church – 650 Northgate Drive – which is also the starting point for the walk that will take place along the Tidewater Bike Path.

Participants help raise money by asking people to sponsor them in the walk. Early registration will be held on Wednesday, April 10, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Pregnancy Help Center of Manteca, 640 N. Main Street next to Bank of Stockton. However, registrations also will be accepted here any time before the event by calling (209) 239-9899 or during regular business hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am. to 4 p.m., and Tuesday from 1 to 7 p.m. Registration fee is $20.

Last year, the goal of the walk-a-thon was to raise $75,000 to $100,000 for the purchase of a motor home that would then be converted into a medical facility that can be taken to various parts of town to bring the center’s services to those in need.

“We have our motor home, and now we’re trying to renovate it,” said Janice Laplume, director of the Pregnancy Help Center.

The back bedroom is being renovated to become the examining room.

“Once we finish with that, we have to buy the equipment and medical supplies” plus a cabinet for the room, Laplume said.

“We’re looking at about $10,000 more to totally complete everything,” she said of the amount that is the target of the coming walk-a-thon fund-raiser.

Included in that estimated total cost is the placement of a sign on the side of the motor home that will include the program’s name and the services they offer.

Once the mobile unit’s renovation is complete, Laplume said the next step will be to apply for a state license to operate the motor home as a portable medical unit. As a licensing requirement, they will also need to have on board a volunteer physician who would read the ultrasound and test results. They will also need nurses to perform the ultrasound procedures, Laplume said. They will actually need three volunteer nurses, with one of them being a licensed ultrasound professional, she added.

“State requires that you have everything in place when they come to check you out and inspect the unit and everything,” Laplume explained.

The purchase of an ultrasound machine is their next immediate goal. The organization is hoping the Knights of Columbus of St. Patrick’s Church in Ripon will be their philanthropist in that regard, with some help coming from the national Knights of Columbus. Under that arrangement, the local Knights would need to raise 50 percent of the cost for an ultrasound unit, and the national organization will foot the rest.

Laplume said the ultrasound machine that they are looking at purchasing has a price tag of $56,000. However, the company is willing to sell it to them for half the price – $28,000 – which means the local Knights would need to raise only $14,000.

“It’s a fantastic program,” Laplume said of the Knights of Columbus. In fact, the chapters at St. Patrick in Ripon and St. Anthony of Padua in Manteca “have supported us tremendously and had fund-raisers for us through the years,” added Laplume whose husband, Ronald, is a fourth-degree Knight.

All walk-a-thon participants on April 27 will be given T-shirts. The event will include food, music and “other goodies,” plus a drawing for various prizes. Raffle tickets will be on sale at the event.