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.
Rocky Wildfong Benefit At Jimmy’s Roadhouse Saturday 12-4pm
If you are unacquainted with the man, Rocky Wildfong is a Newaygo County Corrections Officer who was in a major vehicle accident while on his motorcycle resulting in multiple injuries including the loss of his left leg above the knee. He is currently at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.
Obviously Rocky is a popular guy since the fundraising benefit for him being held at Jimmy’s Roadhouse from Noon to 4pm Saturday has generated a veritable outpouring of donations from a huge number of sources.
There will be a BBQ lunch buffet outside including: hot dogs, burger and a bbq platter: pulled pork, bbq chicken, potato salad and baked beans. You can also order off the menu inside the restaurant. Jimmy’s is also donating part of the proceeds from their food and drink sales.
This is a family friendly event with activities including face painting for the little ones, horseshoes, cornhole and all to be enjoyed in the ample outside area adjoining Jimmy’s.
50/50 drawings, Silent and Chinese auctions, some higher end items for a ticket auction and a DJ spinning tunes will also be part of this effort by friends to help the family with the expenses that accompany lengthy hospital stays.
The folks putting this together have done it right and this should be a great event with the weather looking to be outstanding.
And if you are a biker? One who has experienced the dangers of sharing the road with much bigger automobiles and drivers not always tuned into the oncoming presence of motorcycles?
And if you’ve ever had a family member or other loved one who required lengthy medical care far from home?
Stop in, take a gander at some very cool items for bid and grab a BBQ or toss a round of cornhole.
Because once you see the compassion and the commitment of the folks putting this event together to help their friend?
Gerber Memorial free support group helps those going through cancer share stories, hopes
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is providing patients, survivors and caregivers going through cancer with a platform to share their experiences, stories and journeys of hope. A new cancer support group is scheduled the second Wednesday of every month, with an upcoming session on Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Tamarac, 1401 W. Main St. Fremont.
“Having a resource like the cancer support group can empower people to be active participants in their healthcare,” said Joni Erlewein, nurse practitioner at the Gerber Memorial Cancer Center. “They have a chance to meet others who may face the same hurdles and may find things that have been helpful to other patients in their journey. In my experience, I’ve seen support groups give patients a venue to ask questions they may feel uncomfortable asking the provider, but feel at ease to discuss in small groups. This has also been an avenue for education related to topics that may concern all patients.”
The September cancer support group will include a presentation from Susan Strickfaden, NP, who will discuss survivorship and what it means. The support groups are free and open to the public.
“Gerber Memorial encourages the patients we serve and their families to take part in our free support groups because they’re a great way for people to make connections with others so they recognize that they’re not going through their healthcare journeys alone,” said Shelly Klochack, RN, and moderator of the support groups. “Support groups are a way to build friendships with others and do what these sessions are supposed to do, which is provide support to each other.”
Klochack also leads support groups for patients and caregivers going through Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and stroke.
At these support group sessions, the moderator and participants as well as friends and family accompanying them are invited to talk about their individual experiences, inspiration and hope, challenges they face, and ways to cope and thrive.
The Spectrum Health Cancer Center at Gerber Memorial saw 2,912 patients this past year, an increase of 150 patients compared to a year ago, with many of them from the Newaygo County area.
The Cancer Support Group meets the second Wednesday of every month from 3:30 p.m.to 5 p.m. It provides information and inspiration for cancer survivors and their caregivers. Call 231.924.7589 or 231.924.3275, for any questions.
Gerber Memorial to host free special nutrition program for toddlers, infants, pregnant moms in September
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is holding a special series of free nutrition classes this September designed to help parents and caregivers provide good nutrition to infants and toddlers from newborn to 2 years old. The three sessions are scheduled Sept. 5, 12, and 19 at Tamarac, and will feature a Gerber Memorial registered dietitian sharing tips, meal preparation strategies and other information based on a specialized curriculum specifically designed for early childhood nutrition. All classes are from 10 a.m. to noon.
The first class on Sept. 5 is geared toward pregnant moms and newborns through 6-month-olds. The second class on Sept. 12 is geared toward infants 6 to 12 months old. The final class Sept. 19 is for 1- to 2-year-olds. Registration is required because of limited space, and child watch is available on site. People with transportation questions or who want to register can call 231.924.3073.
The nearly three dozen parents and caregivers who took part in the first two series held in February and May gave overwhelmingly positive reviews of the programs.
One participant wrote: “The staff was extremely nice and very good at explaining the things we needed to know.” Another enjoyed “learning about the nutrition for my infant. Also the goodies and the take home meal.”
During the classes, participants will learn about nutrition during pregnancy, nutrition for nursing moms, important nutrients for babies, breastfeeding and bottle feeding, transitioning to solid food, food safety and other tips and strategies for early childhood nutrition.
Lunch will be provided and participants will receive a prepared meal to bring home to share with their families.
“The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are probably the most important for healthy development and our early childhood nutrition classes are designed to help give children a strong start, with the right food at the right time,” said Jena Zeerip, Gerber Memorial’s community health program lead. “Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is excited we can bring these classes to our community so new moms, moms-to-be, caregivers and parents have information about the best nutrition for moms and babies. At the end of the day, we hope we can empower parents and caregivers to play an active role in helping Newaygo County kids be as healthy as possible from Day One.”
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) Program Receives $10,000 Grant
Fremont– Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial CATCH program received a $10,000 grant from The Gerber Foundation Health Care Fund of Fremont Area Community Foundation to empower kids and families throughout Newaygo County to take charge of their health and wellness through nutrition, education, and physical activity.
The Gerber Memorial CATCH program is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model. This model involves health education, the school environment, and family-community involvement working together to launch youth toward healthier lifestyles. CATCH has been proven as one of the most cost effective means of preventing childhood obesity, in an environment that is fun and easy to sustain. An evidence-based, nationally recognized program brings best practices into schools and teaches students from kindergarten to fifth grade about how to live healthier.
Piloted in two school districts for the 2016-2017 school year, CATCH has now expanded and is in every elementary school in Newaygo County for the 2017-2018 school year. The program is currently reaching over 3,100 students in over 100 classrooms across the county.
“We are pleased to award this grant to Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial and the CATCH program. Together, we are dedicated to improving the health of the communities we serve, with a special focus on school-aged children in Newaygo County,” said Amy Moore, The Fremont Area Community Foundation, director of community investment.
Through CATCH, Josh Gustafson, director of Gerber Memorial’s community health and wellness programs and his team found a way to nudge the culture toward making healthier choices.
“With CATCH, our community health team, nurses, dietitians, fitness specialists and other staff are helping to show kids and their families from all backgrounds that eating nutritious, delicious food can be done economically and easily,” Gustafson said. “Being physically active can happen anywhere, anytime.”
Family Health Care Welcomes Nicki Parrot, FNP
BALDWIN– For many primary medical providers, it’s a dream to return to their hometown and help improve the health of a community where they grew up. That’s why Family Health Care is pleased to announce the addition of Nicki Parrott, FNP, to its Grant office.
Nicki is a 1998 graduate of Grant High School and has over six years of experience working with patients in a rural health care setting. Two of those years she spent working with children in a school-based health clinic.
“I am excited to return to my hometown of Grant," exclaimed Nicki. “I want to partner with individuals and families on their health journey to provide education, foster prevention of illness and offer a space for growth and healing.”
Nicki completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Masters of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner from Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan.
FHC continually focuses on meeting the needs of its communities by growing and expanding services to provide rural residents and visitors to the area with quality, affordable access to behavioral health, medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, laboratory and radiology services close to where they live, work and play.
Nicki will provide primary medical care services at FHC’s Grant office located at 11 N. Maple Street, and its Grant Child & Adolescent Health Center (CAHC) located in the Grant Middle School at 96 E. 120th Street. To schedule an appointment with Nicole or another provider, call the Grant office at (231) 834-0444 or the CAHC at (231) 834-1350.
Educators, parents, Gerber Memorial to huddle for CATCH wellness program as K-5 students prepare to return to school
FREMONT– Teachers, school staff, parents and Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s community health team will be holding a summit on Wednesday, Aug. 15, to prepare students for health habits ahead of the upcoming school year.
The summit for Newaygo County’s Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) committees will meet at Tamarac to collaborate on the implementation of the year’s plan, which includes identifying strategies related to health and wellness. CATCH is a collaboration between Gerber Memorial’s health experts, Michigan State University Extension, and the county’s five school districts to incorporate nutrition education and physical activities into the daily curriculum for students in grades K-5. Today, CATCH covers more than 3,100 students and a mini-documentary on the program can be viewed on Tamarac’s website.
“The Coordinated Approach to Child Health continues to get great feedback from parents, students and educators and many of them have been asking what’s in store for the coming year, so this summit is a way for school and parent leaders to get together, share ideas about best practices and improve what was already a successful program,” said Jena Zeerip, Gerber Memorial’s community health lead. “CATCH is making a positive difference in the lives of our students at the youngest ages and we believe that by empowering them and their families to make good decisions about what they eat, we can make an impact in the long term. We look forward to continuing to show students that eating nutritious food and being physically active are easy, cost-effective ways to live healthy lifestyles.”
Ahead of the summit, each principal and CATCH champion – a designated advocate at each school –completed the School Wellness Assessment Application, which allows them to score each area of implementation during the previous 2017-2018 school year, when CATCH was expanded to all five school districts for the first time. The assessment can help the committees make policy and environmental adjustments within each school.
Hesperia teacher Mark Arbogast dresses up in costume as a superhero champion of healthy nutrition and physical activity at Hesperia Elementary School during filming for a mini-documentary about the Coordinated Approach to Child Health program in late 2017. The documentary can be viewed at www.tamaracwellness.org
The committees will meet for half-a-day and participants are eligible for State Continuing Education Clock Hours, which are credits that can be counted toward the renewal of teaching certificates.
The summit also will include guest speaker, Anne King, a 44-year educator who has worked with children and adults as a teacher, counselor, principal and trainer. King is retired from the Grand Rapids Public Schools as its education and prevention specialist, and has presented to hundreds of classrooms on topics ranging from nutrition and wellness to self-esteem and more.
The Gerber Memorial CATCH program is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model. This model involves health education, the school environment, and family-community involvement working together to launch youth toward healthier lifestyles. CATCH has been proven as one of the most cost effective means of preventing childhood obesity, in an environment that is fun and easy to sustain. An evidence-based, nationally recognized program, CATCH, brings best practices into schools and teaches students from kindergarten to fifth grade about how to live healthier.
Piloted in two school districts for the 2016-2017 school year, CATCH expanded to all five districts in the 2017-2018 school year. The program is currently reaching over 3,100 students in over 100 classrooms across the county.
Earlier this year, Gerber Memorial’s CATCH program received a $10,000 grant from The Gerber Foundation Health Care Fund of Fremont Area Community Foundation.
To watch the CATCH documentary, go to: http://tamaracwellness.org/community-health/catch/