Those affected by a cancer diagnosis in Mason and surrounding counties will have additional respite, relaxation and support with funds raised Saturday evening at the Spectrum Health Foundation Ludington Hospital’s Foraged Feast event. Approximately $40,000 was raised at the blue jeans, craft beer and wild game event, held in February each year by the Ludington Hospital and this year hosted by Joe and Tracy Cooper, of Riverton. The funds will support a new Cancer Patient Wellness Program, a complimentary spa and salon service for cancer patients that incorporates cosmetology services, massage and an information library as part of the hospital’s Cancer Center.
“The Cancer Patient Wellness Program is something our hospital has wanted to start for a long time,” said Kaley Petersen, MS/OTRL, director of Foundation and Community Services at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. “We’ve known that cancer patients especially benefit from non-traditional treatment such as massage, aromatherapy, and nutrition therapy. This program begins to bring some of those “wrap-around” services for our patients, to coincide with the traditional therapies they are receiving.”
The program will be housed in an area next to the Cancer Center, which will be remodeled to accommodate a hair- and wig-cutting and styling station, relaxation area, television, and patient library space. Special artwork and a designated section for patient consults will be included; to make it a place where patients feel supported and cared for.
John and Penny Henderson of Ludington have donated a salon chair, station and mirror for the program. Jill Kaines and Deb Palmer, area cosmetologists, will be volunteering their time and expertise to assist women and men with questions and issues related to hair damage and hair loss during cancer treatment. The initial offering will include “wellness Wednesdays,” when patients can book time for haircuts, washes, shaving, wig ordering and fitting, and general pampering. The space will include displays and storage for wigs, hats, and head wraps so patients can see what is available for ordering.
Joe Cooper, who serves as the Riverton fire chief and operates a local fruit farm, spoke at the Foraged Feast event about the Cancer Patient Wellness Program. “There’s a lot of benefits to the program and a lot that will be offered to patients,” he said. “We’re here tonight to promote that.”
Cooper was diagnosed in 2017 with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer that affects plasma cells in the bone marrow. He has been treated at the Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Cancer Center and said that while there is no cure for his type of cancer, it is now under control and being effectively managed.
The Foraged Feast raises funds for different projects each year. Last year, funds raised helped to start the Cancer Patient Assistance Program, which helps patients of Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Cancer Center by providing extra funds while they are going through treatment that can be used for utility or mortgage payments, gas cards, groceries, etc. The event features a wild game dinner that this year consisted of wild boar, bison, and elk as well as specially selected craft beer by Big Hart Brewing Company. A live auction included items such as an Alaskan guided fishing trip, a stand-up paddle board, and a NASCAR Ride Along event, as well as silent auction items and various gun package raffles.
Scott Smith, President of Smith & Eddy Insurance Company and Bob Budreau, Associate Broker of Greenridge Realty serve as co-chairs of the Spectrum Health Foundation Ludington Hospital board of directors. Both felt the event was successful. “Obviously, we look at the amount of money this event raises,” said Budreau. “And by any marker, we feel it was a huge success on that front. We’ll certainly be able to put the Cancer Patient Wellness Program in motion to serve area patients.”
“We also look at success in terms of the number of supporters we have for our events,” said Smith. “And by that marker, too, we knocked it out of the park. We had a capacity crowd of over 200 people, all of them comfortable and having fun and bidding on items they wanted to win. We had 14 sponsors, including Ludington Beverage Company as our premier evening sponsor, and 35 donors. The food and the beer was fantastic, and it was just a great night! We appreciate all of the support.”
Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,200 medical staff experts, 3,200 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 230 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $459 million in community benefit in the last fiscal year. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $30 million in philanthropy in the most recent fiscal year to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.