July 21, 2010 Edition

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Blasini honored for service

Raul Blasini of Pocahontas, who has spearheaded recent health screenings in Walnut Ridge, was honored during the 33rd annual Community Service Awards in Conway.
Star Herald Photo ~ Dalton Sullivan
Dalton Sullivan
Star Herald

(The following article is reprinted with permission.)

To understand the impact Raul Blasini has on Pocahontas and Northeast Arkansas, consider this statistic.

When Blasini helped organize the first men's prostate cancer screening in Randolph County back in 2001, 68 men showed up for the free, first-of-its-type screening in Northeast Arkansas.

In 2009, in men's prostate cancer screenings all across Northeast Arkansas, 1,654 men were tested for prostate cancer, and of that number, between eight and 10 percent needed a follow-up visit with their doctor.

Though he will try and deflect the credit to others, it all comes back to Blasini.

On Friday evening, in a packed Reynolds Performance Hall on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Blasini was honored with an individual award at the 33rd annual Community Service Awards sponsored by KARK-TV in Little Rock and the Duncan Law Firm, in conjunction with the Office of the Governor.

Since the first cancer screening in Pocahontas nine years ago, Blasini has established men's health screenings in Walnut Ridge, Corning, Newport, Osceola and Blytheville. He has assisted others in establishing similar screenings in Paragould, Jonesboro, Monticello and Batesville.

Blasini himself is a prostate-cancer survivor, having defeated the disease in 1997. He says having been given another chance, he wants nothing more than to make men aware of this potentially deadly, but, if caught early, very treatable disease.

"After my cancer," Blasini said, "God gave me the ability to help others and that is all I'm trying to do, help others."

Several from Randolph and Lawrence counties made the trip to Conway to support him. When the awards ceremony was over, Blasini told everyone that he was surprised - that there were many deserving candidates for the award.

He's right; there were many deserving candidates who had done wonderful things in their community. But what Blasini and his unassuming, servant nature didn't understand, was that he was one of them.

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