Gerber Memorial rolls out Centennial Float at Harvest Festival parade
FREMONT – More than two dozen employees from Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial and Tamarac, along with their family members, rolled out Gerber Memorial’s Centennial Float during Thursday night’s Harvest Festival parade.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s Centennial float is our way of celebrating 100 years of serving our community here in Newaygo County and partnering together with families and local businesses to improve the health and wellbeing of our community,” said Gerber Memorial communications manager Azlan Ibrahim. “We greatly appreciate the support of the folks we serve that span the generations. We look forward to continue serving our community for another 100 years and meeting the health and wellness needs of our families.”
In addition to the float, Gerber Memorial also served 1,000 cupcakes to parade attendees and visitors at Veterans Memorial park in downtown Fremont.
The Centennial Float is part of the year’s ongoing celebration of Gerber Memorial’s 100th birthday since its establishment in 1918, with the donation of a house by the Gerber family to serve the community’s medical needs. On Saturday, Sept. 22, Gerber Memorial is cosponsoring a Cancer Commemorative Walk during the Trail Town celebration in White Cloud, together with the Gerber Federal Credit Union, Gerber Nestle and Power Graphics.
This summer, Gerber Memorial also celebrated its centennial with a dunk tank fundraiser during the National Baby Food Festival that raised more than $500 for the Cancer Center in Fremont and a gala celebration to highlight its community health programs, including the Coordinated Approach to Child Health to promote good nutrition and physical activity in schools, healthy cooking classes, quit tobacco and nicotine programs, and more.
Gerber Memorial is currently displaying a mini-exhibit of its history at the Wantz Historical Research Center in Fremont.
Marathon Miles: Body Adaptation
By Alexis Mercer
If you would have told me when I was a high school cross country athlete, back in the 90s, that I would be training for a marathon, I would have laughed at you. Probably loudly. Inappropriately loudly.
Add into the marathon factor that I am in my late 30s, am raising a family, working a full time job, have a few additional part time jobs on the side, I probably would have called you a liar. I mean I would have tried to find a nice way to say it, but I at least would have thought it in my head.
This leads me to what I have been busy considering these last few weeks. Life has gotten so busy I can hardly keep up. I am asking my body to do things it has never done before in such capacity with marathon training while also demanding it keeps clicking for the remainder of life’s tasks.
I’m sorry, body.
But I have to say, it’s holding up quite nicely considering. In fact, my body has been so kind as to actually enjoy almost every part of the training. (Today’s run was the exception, but I’ll explain…)
Recently on Twitter, the runners I follow on social media have been mentioning Serena Williams and the phenomenally quick return from childbirth to a competitive state again. Many of these runners are mothers themselves and can relate to that process of returning to competition.
This has made me think about what my body has accomplished over the years.
In high school I played volleyball, ran cross country and track. At Hope College I was lucky enough to enjoy four years continuing my volleyball career. That is a lot of training, jumping, diving, and sweating.
I endured shoulder surgery to repair a bone that wasn’t naturally fused together so that when I would swing for a hit, the muscle would no longer get pinched between the bones. And my knees still crack every time I squat down. My ankles have rolled so many times that it would be a legitimate question as to whether the ligaments have any spring left in them at all.
Overall, considering what I asked it to do, my body adapted and held up well.
Then after college, I returned to distance running. Nothing longer than a half marathon. 5ks, 10ks (my favorite distance), some half marathons and a few 25ks in Grand Rapids. I would never get enough sleep, didn’t fuel my body all that appropriately (sometimes downright inappropriately) and yet my body performed well enough to enjoy the races and maintain health.
Then came children. Twice my body went through transformation that was simply amazing. It GREW humans. I wasn’t one of those people who look like they aren’t pregnant except for the cute belly. My body decided it needed to gain 60 pounds. Each time.
With my first born, my body endured his hanging out on my sciatic nerve for 4 months. Agony. And then the birth wasn’t anything like one hopes. After 60 hours of labor, I was rushed into an emergency c-section. Once again my body came through and recovered from what was like a natural birth AND a c-section wrapped into one.
With my second born, I was not messing around and chose the c-section. As in for a second time, my stomach was sliced from side to side, cutting me open, pulling a child out, and then getting patched back together.
Now it is 6 years later. After years of little-to-no sleep and the weight of raising human beings to be responsible, kind, smart, productive adults.
When I look at it like that from over the years, it’s impossible not to think about just how adaptive and phenomenal our bodies are. If there were to be a dialogue, I’m sure this is how it would go.
Me to body: “I know you’ve never done this before, especially while being so busy with other things, but I’m going to make you run 19 miles today in the humidity. Ok? Thanks.”
Body: Let’s give this a go.
Granted, it hasn’t been all roses and butterflies. Today was the worst training day I have had yet. It was an extraordinarily difficult week with keeping my schedule straight along with my kids’ and husband’s schedule. We lost our dog, which was an emotional, heart-wrenching experience that still stings. Then on Thursday night I woke up with a sinus infection. Friday I spent the day with my cross country team at MSU and was in complete agony.
I gave myself yesterday off from running, thinking the meds would kick in. And I asked my body to head out this morning just after dawn for a 19 mile run. Seemed reasonable at the time.
The first 12 miles were great. I figured the antibiotics were kicking in and my body was taking the stressful week in stride. Then I asked it to go up a long, somewhat steep hill in mile 13 and it.was.done. Done. Done. Done.
But rather than stopping and calling it a wash, I asked it to keep going. Just another mile. And then another mile more. Finally at 17.5, I called it.
Despite my horrible choice today to keep going, my body stuck with me. Granted, I did have to stop to throw up the apple steel cut oatmeal I had eaten for breakfast on my way home (sorry...gross but true). Perhaps my body was just sending me a nice reminder that it wouldn’t like to do that again under such conditions.
I am not Serena Williams or Kara Goucher or any of the countless women who make a living as professional athletes, but also want to be moms, and ask their bodies to return to levels of fitness I couldn’t even dream about. But I have asked my body to do some incredible things. And it’s always been up for the challenge.
Marathon training has brought me an appreciation for my body like I haven’t had before. Hopefully my body hears me thanking it so I can try again next weekend for 20 miles and it will be in full agreement to get it handled.
Gerber Memorial to host free expo on reducing dangerous falls that put seniors at risk
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is hosting an informational expo to highlight ways people can prevent falls that often lead to injuries and even death as part of No Falls Day 2018.
Gerber Memorial’s expo will be held Tuesday, September 18, and Thursday, September 20 in the main lobby of the hospital 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both days. National No-Falls Day 2018 officially falls on September 22. New this year are demonstrations of tai chi, which are exercises and movements designed to improve balance.
The free event will also feature free giveaways, including free no-slip bath strips and night lights to the first 100 people to show up. In addition, attendees will also get free information from Gerber Memorial’s pharmacy team about medications that can contribute to falls, as well as free blood pressure screenings. Physical therapists and visiting nurses will be on hand to provide additional information and resources.
The tai chi sessions are scheduled as follows:
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls affect one in four Americans 65 and older, and older Americans die from falls every 19 minutes, making falls the leading cause of fatal injury – more than 27,000 deaths a year – and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
Get a free junior fruit smoothie, with the help of this Tamarac hay art at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Fremont. From left, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s business development specialist Emily Folkema, Wellness Center Supervisor Justin Aman, and Nancy Luchies, administrative support coordinator, test out the art.
Tamarac hay art lets visitors connect with a free smoothie, via their smartphone
FREMONT – During the Harvest Festival, a smartphone and a selfie are just about all you need to get a free refreshing smoothie at Tamarac’s café.
Starting from now through Sept. 28, Tamarac is giving away a free junior fruit smoothie to anyone who snaps a selfie on Tamarac’s hay art, located at Veterans Memorial Park on Main Street in downtown Fremont; tags @TamaracWellness on Facebook; and then brings the tagged Facebook photo to Tamarac’s Welcome Center.
“At Tamarac, we’re always trying to find fun new ways to interact with our community and our members, so we thought we’d build our hay art around the theme of relaxation and nutrition,” said Justin Aman, Tamarac Wellness Center supervisor. “We’re excited we can use technology and a landmark local celebration to help folks have some fun and at the same time, say thank you to our community for their support of Tamarac.”
BONUS! Cupcakes in the Park:
As part of Gerber Memorial’s 100th anniversary, the community is invited to enjoy cupcakes at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Fremont following the Harvest Festival Parade on Thursday, Sept. 20, starting after the parade ends, around 7 p.m., to 8 p.m.
Michigan Primary Care Association Awards three Family Health Care Employees
BALDWIN– The passion for improving the health of rural communities is a commitment by all those who work for Family Health Care (FHC). Recently, the Michigan Primary Care Association awarded the 2018 Distinguished Service Award to Bonnie Mapes, Chief Operating Officer, Chris Hicks, Chief Business Optimization Officer, and Bruce Whitney, Board Member.
Bonnie Mapes has been with FHC for over 13 years starting with many challenging tasks including the acquisition of a long-standing private practice. Bonnie helped those staff struggling in their “new organization” by bringing them together to see the bigger picture of how a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) supports its community. She developed a culture of “family” and made staff an essential part of what the growing organization was all about. Bonnie has worked hard to integrate the many departments and programs throughout the organization. She has been successful in bringing Optometry Services to White Cloud, various schools throughout Northern Michigan and most recently in Baldwin. Bonnie is a true team player.
"Bonnie often takes on the most challenging projects and provides a finished product with results that will benefit BFHC,” said Kathy Sather, President & CEO.
Chris Hicks has been at FHC for over six years. Digging deep into FHC’s data system, Chris provides a wealth of information for clinicians and administrators. This information has helped FHC become successful in grant opportunities, assisted in strategies that resulted in being recognized as a Quality Leader and has placed FHC as an active member of collaborative programs with area hospitals and large systems of care. Chris has been promoted three times during his tenure with the organization and has committed his time to the mission and vision of BFHC. He does whatever he can for the betterment of the organization’s needs; even if that means long and in-depth research for requested reports.
“Chris doesn’t call it good enough until he has accomplished his goal,” said Kathy. “He is committed to the goals of the organization and always encourages his team to strive for their best.”
Bruce Whitney's passion for the mission of FHC is apparent in his dedication to his role as a board member and an active community member. Bruce, also known as Pastor Whitney, leads the Baldwin Congregational Church. The daily struggles, those who are ill, aged and on limited incomes have a friend forever in him. Bruce is a fierce advocate legislatively and has the stories to support what families’ experience, and how vital FQHC’s are in providing the necessary resources for the small northern Michigan town that struggles to combat poverty. He is actively engaged in changing the trajectory for area families.
“His heart for representing the community, their needs and active defender of the work at the health center is the typical characteristic you will hear with a few minutes spent talking to him,” said Kathy. “Bruce practices what he preaches, not only actively engaged as a community member but also a patient of Family Health Care.”
Marathon Miles: Running Safely
By Alexis Mercer
If you’ve seen the national news lately, you may have come across a story about a woman named Mollie Tibbetts who went for a run in her small town in Iowa late in the evening on July 18 by herself. She was house sitting but informed her boyfriend, who was at another location, that she was headed out for a run. She never came back.
Her body was found more than a month later in a field after authorities were led there by her killer. She had been stabbed to death and left covered by corn husks.
It brings chills to my skin and tears to my eyes to even begin to put myself in her shoes and think of the fear she experienced that night.
Unfortunately, this situation is one we runners, especially female runners, have to contemplate. And not necessarily just running at night.
I have put on many miles in my preparation for a marathon. And many, many miles before beginning this training. I have been running on roads since I was 14 years old. I don’t recall a single time I haven’t at least had the thought cross my mind that I need to put myself in the best possible situation to be safe while out training.
Running with a partner or group.
Running with my phone.
Running with pepper spray.
Running during daylight.
Running without headphones in so I can hear what is around me.
Running a wide variety of routes at different times during the day so as to avoid a pattern. Running with a knife if I don’t have pepper spray.
Running on roads with a moderate amount of traffic in order to be seen frequently.
Running with my location actively being sent to friends or family.
Running only after telling multiple friends where I am and when I will be back.
Running while glancing behind me to double check noises.
These are all things that go through my head. Every time I run. And it makes me angry. Why should I have to think so much about my safety? Why are there people who can destroy one’s sense of safety?
My fear while running usually comes from people who find it necessary to honk and shout comments out the car window. No, not people I know who are cheering me on. People, always men, who honk and shout and sometimes slow down to observe.
The first thing I really want to do is scream at them how unappreciated their behavior is. But I am most often gasping for breath and looking for an escape route, so that doesn’t happen. Instead I make sure my face shows my intense disgust in case the man thinks that perhaps I might enjoy the comments.
I assure you all, I don’t.
Fear that the person is going to stop and try to escalate from honking and shouting to something worse is what then takes over my brain. Fight or flight.
And then anger. Pure rage that while I am out enjoying a run I have to put up with such thoughts running through my head. Sadly I have not gone on a single run this summer where I haven’t had at least one person honk or shout or both at me. Not a single run. It happens all the time.
I pray to God that I will never have to experience anything remotely close to what Tibbetts endured that evening in July. But just in case I try to be as prepared as possible.
In fact, I just purchased a new device that is a flashlight, a pepper spray canister and also an emergency alert sending device all in one. I also purchased a new set of headphones that are placed outside the eardrums so that I can hear my surroundings while still enjoying music or podcasts (science is so cool).
Even while placing the orders for these two items, I was frustrated that I felt the need to spend my hard earned money on things that are only purchased to keep me safe rather than for enjoyment or comfort. I would much rather spend that money on a new pair of shoes or a drawer full of sweat wicking t-shirts that are stink free.
Perhaps someday there will be an easier way to feel secure while I am out enjoying pounding the pavement or dirt roads. Perhaps someday the Mollie Tibbettses of the world won’t be read about in the national news anymore.
Until then, I will continue to be vigilant, do everything within my power to prevent such situations, and pray for all my fellow runners’ safety.
Gerber Memorial to host cancer survivors’ brunch at Tamarac on Sept. 15
Fremont – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial will host a cancer survivors’ brunch on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Tamarac from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial looks forward every year to celebrate cancer survivors, those going through the cancer journey and their caregivers for their courage and determination,” said Karen Crowley, patient services representative at Gerber Memorial’s Cancer Center and one of the lead organizers of the brunch. “The patients and the families that we serve at our Cancer Center inspire us every day to continue the fight against cancer. Our annual brunch is one small way we can honor their commitment to hope and healing.”
The 11th annual survivors’ brunch is held in partnership with the American Cancer Society. This year’s event will include survivors sharing stories of hope, food and nutrition, financial information and top topics in cancer care.
The event is free and open to the public. Because space is limited, please reserve seating and RSVP to Katie Mata at 616.551.4061 or by email at Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tamarac trainer, high-tech gym and indomitable attitude help Woods lose 220 pounds
FREMONT– In November 2016, inspired by a friend and exhausted by her own longtime battle with weight issues, Tonya Woods decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery.
On the day of her surgery, she weighed 384 pounds.
“Many think after surgery the hard work is done,” said Woods, 37, of Grant, Michigan. “But my journey was just getting started.”
Bariatric surgery doesn’t automatically keep the weight off, according to the American Medical Association. To achieve sustainable, long-term weight loss after surgery, patients must incorporate substantial lifestyle and behavioral changes.
Woods said she felt terrified to start her post-surgery journey. She wasn’t entirely certain how to begin and knew progress wouldn’t come through nutritious eating alone. She had to introduce physical activity.
In August 2017, she stepped into Tamarac, the wellness center in Fremont, Michigan, where trainers introduced her to InBody, an analytic device that would come to help change her lifestyle—and her life.
The advanced body composition analyzer measures a person’s body composition and displays it on an organized, easy-to-understand result sheet. The results helped Woods visualize and understand measurements relating to her fat, muscle and various other body composition.
InBody essentially acted as a guide to help her achieve her goals.
“The InBody body composition analysis was my first realization of a starting point after my surgery,” she said. “I knew with scoliosis it would be difficult. The results sheet showed my muscle imbalances and what areas I needed to target.
“I wanted to get a trainer to teach me what I wanted to know, but more specifically, what I needed to know,” she said. “I knew that I needed to be pushed and motivated.”
Woods enlisted the help of Tamarac personal trainer Megan Dickinson.
Woods wanted to do strength training but she didn’t know how to get started. Dickinson helped her customize workout routines to avoid boredom and to give her body the workout it needed. More importantly, Dickinson pushed Woods to be accountable three days a week.
About 19 months after her surgery and eight months into her InBody workouts, Woods weighed in at 155 pounds. She is proof that incredible results are achievable with the right resources and mindset.
“What Tonya proves is that good nutrition, medicine and targeted exercises can help anyone reach their fitness and weight goals,” Dickinson said. “I had a great time working with Tonya, helping her identify specific areas she wanted to work on and seeing her target those specific areas with laser-like focus.”.
“Between the combination of InBody and certified fitness trainers, people can achieve just about any wellness goal they set their minds to,” Dickinson said.
InBody’s data reports help Woods maintain progress every month. The data visualizations were particularly useful to help her overcome psychological or emotional hurdles during periods of uncertain progress.
“Tonya is a real inspiration because she’s really taken charge of the changes she wants to make and she’s proactively teaching herself how to live a healthy lifestyle,” Dickinson said. “One word you could use to describe her journey is empowerment. She’s empowered herself through her healthy lifestyle choice.”
Prior to surgery, Woods had been a size 30, weighing 384 pounds. At that time, her goal had been to get into size 18 jeans. Today, she wears a size 7 and weighs 155 pounds. In 19 months, she lost more than 220 pounds.
“This isn’t a one-size-fits-all-approach and something that you don’t have to do alone,” she said. She recommends enlisting a team for support and encouragement.
Join Tamarac for an eight-week InBody Challenge starting September 5. To learn more about the InBody Challenge, personal training and other health and wellness programming, call 231.924.1788.
The Total Trek Quest Program: Back and (hopefully) bigger than ever!
With the start of school comes the advent of fall activities. Newaygo County, boys in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade can participate in the Total Trek Quest(TTQ) program, a fun, high energy after school program that incorporates training for a 5K and a curriculum that focuses on developing positive peer relationships, working toward individual goals, making healthy choices, and resisting peer pressure. The program originated in Ottawa County 13 years ago, and expanded to Muskegon and Allegan County in 2015 and to Kent County in 2107. This past spring, TTQ came to Newaygo County with a team of 19 boys and 6 coaches at Velma Matson Elementary in Newaygo.
The boys and coaches worked hard as they trained for 9 weeks in April, May and June so they could run the Newaygo PCA SuperHero run on June 9th. Many miles were run during practices, and more importantly, relationships grew in all the time spent running around the schools and streets of Newaygo. Additionally, some important life skills were learned in lessons that combined things like making healthy choices or working together as a team with games that had everyone moving around, having fun, and building relationships. After all that hard work, on the day of the race, it was those relationships that helped get everyone to the finish line in a pouring rain that soaked everyone before the run had even started!! But when you are with your friends, even 3.1 miles in the rain is fun!
Now, TTQ is working to have teams at Velma Matson/Vera Wilsie in Newaygo, Daisy Brook in Fremont, and White Cloud Elementary. The fall season will start-hopefully-the first week of September, with a final 5k event somewhere in Newaygo County on Saturday, November 3. But two very important things are needed for this to happen: TTQ needs boys to be on teams, and caring, committed adults to serve as coaches for these awesome boys. (and you don’t need to be a runner to be a coach; you only need to promise to walk/run with your team) If you are interested in coaching, or if you have a 3rd-5th grade boy that wants to be a part of a TTQ team, please contact Vicki at email@example.com or 616-834-1933.
Marathon Miles: Moderation
By Alexis Mercer
It has been a while. I am in the midst of marathon training and things have been going splendidly. I have also started back to coaching cross country with daily practices and a multitude of tasks that are required to make the season go smoothly above and beyond the two hours a day I get to be with the athletes. I’m adjusting my schedule accordingly, which means a little less time to write.
My mind has been wandering to the question as to why I have never been at all interested in completing a marathon prior to this point. And also as to why I may have changed my mind.
The first thought that I know to be true is that it has always seemed so far beyond moderation that I did not have any interest.
Growing up my Dad has always said “Everything in Moderation” and it is a life lesson I have taken to heart. In various ways I live this out seemingly without exception.
When it comes to food consumption, I have settled into what I consider a healthy mindset using moderation as my guide. Nothing too much of any particular food. Moderate amounts of carbs, healthy fats and meats. Moderate amounts of fruits and vegetables (being careful to eat as many of these as everything else). I stray from pop and sweets for the most part, but don’t deprive myself of them completely if the situation calls for them!
This moderation has worked up to this point in my life with food and its effect on my life. I am respectful of how food fuels my body and how it gives me the strength and energy to do the things I love.
Always before when I thought of running, I never saw 26.2 miles as being within the boundaries of moderation. Why suffer so immensely for such a long distance when it is hard on your body and mind?
Why I decided that a marathon was my next goal I cannot truly fully answer at this point. But what I have come to terms with is that my concept of moderation was flawed in a few ways.
Firstly, my Dad saying his mantra of “Everything in Moderation” was not necessarily advice that he followed himself. Thinking back to years growing up, I have been reminded he himself ran a marathon. The Detroit Marathon in 1984 when my sister was a baby and I was 3. Hardly moderation.
He participated multiple times in the WAM 300, a biking event to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation that included a 300 mile bike ride in 3 days, sleeping on gym floors along the way. Hardly moderation.
Growing up he would take the aluminum boat he purchased with his own money at 15 and float the river overnight, fishing, sleeping a little, fishing some more and then hauling the boat on his shoulders to his next destination. Hardly moderation.
As a teenager, he and his friends would push the limits to see what the earliest first day could be to waterski in Tawas Bay. The record came on a day when they were skiing past the last remaining floating ice chunks. Hardly moderation.
When it comes to athletic endeavors, my Dad doesn’t know the meaning of moderation. He’s an all in kind of guy. Go big or don’t go. Some of his most epic adventures have come from places far outside of moderation. Maybe I took the moderation concept to a place he never quite intended.
And then there is the concept of the definition of moderation when it comes to running.
Compared to my running in high school, yes, a marathon is outside moderation. I ran cross country, never training more than 8 miles at a time that I can remember. In track my events were the 800m relay (200 meters), the 400m dash, the 1600m relay (400 meters) and high jump. A future dabbling with distance wasn’t in my mindset.
Since becoming a cross country coach, however, I have been immersed in the world of running in a way I never knew before. Thanks to social media and things like podcasts, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world.
Following Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Linden, Shelby Hoolihan, the Nike Bowerman track club members, and other runners of varying talents, has helped me to see that the possibilities are endless when it comes to running these days.
Listening to podcasts, in particular The Morning Shakeout with Mario Fraioli, has meant endless hours of insight into the world of running in a broader spectrum. People who run 100 mile Ultra Marathons, those who run marathons in every country in the world, Tracksmith athletes who run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in a relay straight through for time for fun.
In this broad spectrum of running, a marathon is right smack dab in the middle of moderation.
As I have been completing training sessions on the track that go up to 10 miles of speed (including warmup, repeats and cooldown), I have been finding myself with the greatest of runners highs and a true sense of accomplishment and pride with each one.
Training has gotten longer in the last two weeks. My run today was 14 miles. It hurt a lot. It’s the first run where I didn’t feel like my body was on the same page as my mind. My left arch hurts and my right tendon in the hamstring region aches. It was a good reminder that it isn’t going to be easy from here on out.
My body might want to stick to moderation as it knew before.
But my mind is all in. It loves this entire process. I am growing, stretching, learning.
The ceiling of moderation has been raised to new heights. And I couldn’t be more excited to see where it takes me.