Missouri Hepatitis C Alliance Holds Local Poker Tournament to Raise Awareness
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Hepatitis C Alliance hosted a poker tournament Thursday night to raise awareness about the disease. Half of the money raised goes toward the group, the other half goes to the winners.
The MOHepC Alliance holds this tournament every Thursday night at 6:30 at Pem's Place on 3919 S. Providence Road. The group is a non-profit organization that focuses on educating people about Hepatitis C. The group makes speeches across the state to educate people about the disease. It also provides testing that's cheaper than most hospitals would be able to provide.
The organization has been around for the last 10 years. KOMU caught up with one of the board members.
"Hepatitis C is a silent disease. You can have it for 20, 30 years before you even know you have damage. And during that time you experience great liver damage and it's also infectious. It can be spread," board member Rick Henderson said.
According to a study earlier this month by the American Gastroenterological Association, nearly five million Americans are infected with Hepatitis C, 82 percent of them are baby boomers. Seventy four percent of baby boomers have never been tested for the disease, or are unsure if they have been tested. About 15,000 Americans die from the disease every year. That's more deaths than from HIV.