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Mother thanks blood donors who saved her baby’s life

“Thank you to blood donors for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.” – Jamiee Mentink, mother to premature baby Ava whose life was saved through blood transfusions.

“Thank you to blood donors for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.” – Jamiee Mentink, mother to premature baby Ava whose life was saved through blood transfusions.

Premature baby girl survives infection after two blood transfusions

As many people nationwide celebrated the special women in their lives during Mother’s Day earlier this month, Michigan Blood is celebrating Jamiee Mentink and her story of becoming a mom for the first time.

In March of 2012, daughter Ava was born through emergency C-section at only 28 weeks, due to Jamiee’s severe illness, preeclampsia. Ava, a tiny 1 lb, 11 oz. at birth, had been doing great in the NICU, but then fell sick to infection. Two blood transfusions were needed to save Ava’s life.

“Immediately after the transfusions, you could see a difference. Ava’s skin turned pink again, and she became her feisty self again,” said Jamiee. “All the medical stuff in the world couldn’t replace the blood that Ava so desperately needed.”

With time, Ava fought her way back to being a healthy, thriving baby. Ava is now a fun, feisty, sweet little girl who is energetic about dance lessons and loved being a wedding flower girl recently. She just celebrated her 4th birthday in March.

Through the experience with Ava, and as the Director of Inpatient Emergency Services at South Haven Hospital, Jamiee realizes first hand the importance of blood donation. She is now a loyal blood donor herself.

“As a nurse I used to give blood to patients regularly, but I feel bad that it took Ava’s experience for me to regularly donate,” adds Jamiee. “Like I did, I think people take for granted that somebody else is donating blood. If people could realize that donating takes just a short amount of time, but it’s something that’s so worth the cause.”

Jamiee also wishes to thank those donors whose blood saved Ava’s life.

“Thank you for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.”

To view Jamiee and Ava’s full story, watch their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pisYzF9iGAQ

Upcoming blood drives nearby include:

  • 6/03 – Spectrum Health – United Hospital, Conference Rooms Sides A and B, 615 S. Bower Street, Greenville, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • 6/06 – Rockford Area Donor Site at the Community Cabin, main room, 220 N Monroe St., Rockford, 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • 6/09 – Cedar Springs United Methodist Church – 140 S. Main Street, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is a blood drive to support three local students. Emma Orr, Brison Ricker and Bree Town. For every person that attempts to give blood, $10 will be donated. Please call 233-8509 or go to www.miblood.org to make an appointment.
  • 6/21 – Cedar Springs Area Donor Site at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, 140 S Main St., Cedar Springs, 12:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health St. Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. We are currently in urgent need of O-Negative blood donations. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-866-MIBLOOD (642-5663) or schedule online at https://donate.miblood.org

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Health Department receives grant 

 

To enhance emerging disease preparedness

GRAND RAPIDS–The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is one of only eleven local health departments in the United States, and the only one in Michigan, to be awarded a $25,000 grant to enhance coordination for preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks. The grant is awarded by the National Association of County and City Health Organizations (NACCHO).

With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Lessons in INfection Control (LINC) Initiative awards recipients will test new approaches to prepare for and respond to healthcare-associated infections and other emerging infectious diseases.

“Not only will this funding increase KCHD’s capacity to respond to healthcare associated infections (HAIs) and other emerging diseases,” says Brian Hartl, Supervising Epidemiologist at KCHD, “it will also increase collaboration and communication between public health and health care facilities across West Michigan to strengthen HAI surveillance and control activities.”

The LINC Initiative supports local health departments in improving healthcare and community infection control practices by working with hospitals, long-term care facilities and other healthcare settings to identify and address the needs and opportunities. KCHD and other award recipients will test creative solutions and ways to combat the estimated 700,000 healthcare related infections in the U.S. each year.

Local health departments that received the award include the following:

• Barren River District Health Department (KY)

• Clark County Public Health (WA)

• Eau Claire City-County Health Department (WI)

• El Paso County Health Department (CO)

• Flathead City-County Health Department (MT)

• Florida DOH Pasco County

• Kent County Health Department (MI)

• Marion County Public Health Department (IN)

• Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (WV)

• Public Health – Seattle & King County (WA)

• St. Louis City Department of Health (MO)

The awardees will implement this project throughout 2016.

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The 10-Step Sugar Detox Plan: For you and your children

Healthy drink.

Healthy drink.

For adults who crave candy and ice cream almost as much as their children, the bad news on sugar continues to pour in.

Earlier this year, research into sugar’s deleterious effects showed a connection to cancer, heart disease and diabetes. More recently, the American Dental Association reminded parents just how bad sugar is for their children’s teeth.

(http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2016-04-01/health-tip-limit-your-childs-sugar-consumption)

“We think we’re so advanced in 2016, yet when it comes to health and a nutritious diet, many of us have a long way to go,” says nutritionist and juicing pioneer Cherie Calbom, who is known as “The Juice Lady.”

The good news for parents is they can ferret out the sugar-laden products that may be hidden in their and their children’s diets, and dedicate themselves to a healthy, sugar-free lifestyle, says Calbom, author of “The Juice Lady’s Sugar Knockout.” She offers her Sugar Addiction Quiz at www.juiceladycherie.com/Juice/the,sugar,knockout.

Below is Calbom’s solution: a 10-step detox plan that parents can work on with their children to eliminate sugar in both their diets.

1. Avoid all sugar. If you can do it for 30 days, you can change your lifestyle. During this time, avoid even healthy sweeteners like honey, and substitutes, which overwhelm the taste buds.

2. Cut caffeine intake. There are multiple benefits to cutting back on your caffeine, including the temptation to use sugary creamers and accompanying sweets along with actually causing sugar cravings.

3. Skip foods that turn to sugar easily. This includes wheat and other grains, alcohol and starchy foods like white potatoes.

4. Enjoy healthy smoothies. Healthy smoothies that include dark leafy greens like kale or chard make you feel good in the long term and can help eliminate the urge for sugary snacks and excessive caffeine.

5. Power up with protein. Eggs, nuts, fish and other meats balance blood sugar and insulin.

6. Eat your veggies. Non-starchy vegetables provide your body with much-needed vitamins that also will cut your urge for unhealthy, sugary snacks.

7. Drink eight glasses of water a day. Sufficient pure water keeps you hydrated, reduces headaches and constipation, and flushes out toxins.

8. Supplement your diet. GTF chromium, L-Glutamine, B vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin C assist your body in various ways to overcome sugar cravings.

9. Sleep well; sleep enough. Lack of sleep messes with your hormonal balance and contribute to feelings of hunger.

10. Fight sugar cravings with fat. Healthy fats like avocados and fish make you feel full and satisfied.

“Beware of sugar in places you might not have expected, like tomato sauces, salad dressing and marinades,” Calbom says. “Make a habit of studying labels.”

Cherie Calbom holds a Master of Science degree in whole foods nutrition from Bastyr University. Known as “The Juice Lady” www.juiceladycherie.com for her work with juicing and health, she is author of 31 books, with millions of copies sold worldwide. No stranger to healthy diet trends, Cherie joined George Foreman as nutritional spokesperson in the Knockout the Fat phenomena that forever changed grilling in America.

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Pine Rest offers substance use disorder family recovery group

Pine Rest offers a family recovery group led by certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor Stacey Williamson-Nichols for those with a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder.

The group sessions are held every Tuesday at the Pine Rest campus Retreat Center from 5:30-7 p.m. One topic per session is taught over a 10-week period. An orientation meeting must be attended prior to starting group and will be scheduled at the time of registration.

Besides developing an understanding of addiction, participants will learn ways to cope, set appropriate boundaries, build self-esteem and assertiveness skills. The recovery group places an emphasis on the family or support person of an individual struggling with substance use. The goal is to keep the people supporting their loved one healthy and knowledgeable.

The Family Recovery Group is open to the public for a fee of $15 per session, and free of charge to family members who have a loved one participating in Pine Rest’s Retreat Center/Addiction Medicine Services. Orientation is free for everyone. The Pine Rest Retreat Center address is 300 68th Street SE, Grand Rapids, Mich. 49548. To register, please call 616/258-7467. For more information, go to www.pinerest.org/events/.

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Walk to cure arthritis at John Ball Park Zoo

Funds raised is a step closer to finding a cure for the leading cause of disability

Over 800 walkers will be on hand at the 2016 Grand Rapids Walk to Cure Arthritis on Saturday, May 7, 2016, at the John Ball Park Zoo in Grand Rapids, MI, to help support the Arthritis Foundation and its mission to cure arthritis and make it easier for people living with the disease to achieve everyday victories. On-site registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the opening ceremony starts at 9:40 a.m. with the walk immediately following. As the Arthritis Foundation’s signature, national fundraising event, the Walk to Cure Arthritis brings together communities to fight arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability, and is a great way to experience the power of giving back to the community.

Supporters have the opportunity to walk a 1 or 3 mile route. Registration is free. With a $25 donation, participants can enjoy free admission to the zoo for the day. Walkers raising $100 or more will receive an official Walk t-shirt. The event also features arthritis information, refreshments and activities for the entire family.

Register online at www.WalkToCureArthritis.org/GrandRapids or contact Sue Arend at sarend@arthritis.org or 616-954-7649.

Local honorees will share their inspiring stories of living with arthritis during the Grand Rapids Walk to Cure Arthritis.

  • Youth Honoree Collin Scarpino, 17-years-old, Grand Rapids, MI – ankylosing spondylitis
  • Adult Honoree Holly Hubbard, 39-years-old, Jenison, MI – rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis
  • Medical Honoree Kory Johnson, DO, Orthopedic Specialist, Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan

More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children in the U.S. live with arthritis. Costing the U.S. economy $156 billion dollars a year, arthritis affects one in five Americans and causes more activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes. The Grand Rapids Walk to Cure Arthritis will help those living with arthritis by supporting community programs, advocacy initiatives, as well as fund crucial research aimed at finding a cure for the disease.

Arthritis is more than just a few minor aches and pains. It’s a debilitating disease that robs people of their dreams,” says Michelle Glazier, executive director of the Arthritis Foundation, Michigan. “When you support Walk to Cure Arthritis, you become a Champion of Yes, helping us build a lifetime of better while accelerating the search for a cure. Whether you are close to the disease or simply looking for an inspiring charity event that truly makes a difference, Walk to Cure Arthritis is a great way to experience the power of standing together in the fight against arthritis. Together, we can Walk to Cure Arthritis and help us reach our goal of raising $90,700 to help find a cure for this disease.”

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Affordable health screenings 

 

May 2, at Solon Center Wesleyan

Residents living in and around the Cedar Springs, Michigan can learn about their risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other chronic, serious conditions with affordable screenings by Life Line Screening. Solon Center Wesleyan Church will host this community event on Monday, May 2. The site is located at 15671 Algoma in Cedar Springs.

Screenings can check for:

The level of plaque buildup in your arteries, related to risk for heart disease, stroke and overall vascular health.

  • HDL and LDL Cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes risk
  • Bone density as a risk for possible osteoporosis
  • Kidney and thyroid function, and more

Screenings are affordable, convenient and accessible for wheelchairs and those with trouble walking. Free parking is also available.

Packages start at $149, but consultants will work with you to create a package that is right for you based on your age and risk factors. Call 1-877-237-1287 or visit our website at www.lifelinescreening.com. Pre-registration is required.

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Allergy Woes: Downside of Good Hygiene?

HEA-Allergy-woesBy Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

LANSING, Mich. – All the runny noses and itchy eyes tell us it’s allergy season in Michigan. From April to June, grass pollen creates problems for many. In autumn, ragweed and other pollen-shedding plants cause misery. If it seems that more people have allergies than ever, that indeed is the case.

Dr. Bill Miller, an author and blogger who studies the causes of allergies, said one problem is that many Americans are too clean; researchers call it the hygiene hypothesis. Miller said we’ve upset the balance of internal germs in our bodies by protecting ourselves more than our ancestors did.

“They had the cows and the goats, and all the pigs and everything,” he said. “The family unit lived right on top of the farm animals. Kids used to roll in the dirt. Kids spent almost all their day outside. Now, in our modern society, we live indoors.”

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has cited research that suggests early antibiotic use changes the bacterial flora, which affects the development of allergic diseases, including asthma. Other studies suggest we may be using too many products such as acetaminophen to treat children.

Miller said people need to back away a little from the use of hand sanitizers and antibiotics.

“Are antibiotics the problem? No, they’re wonder drugs,” he said. “They’re one of the greatest inventions in all of world history but we’re using them so commonly that we’re having unintended side effects.”

Miller said we’re upsetting the natural balance in our bodies, and that doctors need to stand their ground and not give out prescriptions so easily.

“I was taught to use antibiotics when you should,” he said. “But, that said, as a front-line physician, I can tell you that there’s a lot of pressure on doctors to offer antibiotics to patients or parents for their young children, because there’s such a profound belief that they do the trick.”

Miller stressed that children should play with other children and have pets early in life because exposure to other germs can help them avoid allergies later in life.

More information on and from Miller is online at TheMicrocosmWithin.com/author.

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A Gift for families: financial planning at the end of life

Financial worries compound the stress that families feel when a loved one is dying. Judy Trepeck of the Michigan Association of CPAs led efforts to provide resources to help families be financially prepared for the end of life.

Financial worries compound the stress that families feel when a loved one is dying. Judy Trepeck of the Michigan Association of CPAs led efforts to provide resources to help families be financially prepared for the end of life.

Every day, when Judy Trepeck goes to the mailbox, she wonders if she’s going to find another bill she has to pay. That’s been pretty much the norm since her stepfather died four months ago, and she stepped in to manage his financial affairs.  She’s working through her grief and a myriad of issues related to settling his estate.

Our job as a survivor begins the day a loved one’s life ends,” said Trepeck, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer for the Michigan Association of CPAs. “What I’m learning now, for example, is that you have to give notice to creditors for four months in case someone has a claim against the estate. There’s a process that starts after death that needs to be managed, but nobody tells you about that.  Who knew?”

 Trepeck’s colleagues at MICPA knew. In fact, they convened a task force of certified public accountants from across the state to address the matter. After nine months of work, including some long nights during tax season, the organization produced Financial Affairs at the End of Life” for Hospice of Michigan patients and families.

The booklet, which can be downloaded at www.micpa.org, provides a wealth of assessment and planning tools designed to ensure families can be financially prepared for the end of life.  Sections range from caring for dependents to advanced directives to estate planning with a single goal in mind: Providing objective financial information and resources.

We had been talking at a Hospice of Michigan board meeting about the fact that social workers were often asked about financial issues for a family and didn’t have the resources or the wherewithal to answer those questions,” said Trepeck, who also serves on HOM’s board of directors. “We saw the need at MICPA to give social workers the objective information they needed to provide to the families from an honest broker standpoint, if you will. Our goal was to be a resource book that has all the information on the various things that families should think about, then gives them phone numbers or points them to websites.”

For MICPA, which has nearly 18,000 member-CPAs statewide, the opportunity to fill an educational need was motivation for the project.  For Hospice of Michigan, the largest non-profit provider of hospice and palliative care services in the state, the resulting booklet filled a gap.

We walk alongside patients and families during one of the most stressful times of life,” said Robert Cahill, president and CEO of Hospice of Michigan. “Financial worries compound that stress and magnify it. We are grateful to the MICPA for giving our social workers and clinicians a valuable tool for their toolboxes with ‘Financial Affairs.’

The booklet, which has gone through multiple revisions and updates, encourages families to start by gathering detailed information on their assets and liabilities.  Sections detail what kinds of information is needed, right down to the location of safety deposit boxes and a list of employer fringe benefits.

The Planning section focuses on family, offering lots of questions to prompt discussion before decisions are made when it comes to guardians, property and advanced directives. Whom does the patient trust? Whom do the children love and trust? Is this what the patient wants? Important but difficult conversations to have.

The section also covers the basic financial tools including life insurance, pensions and other retirement accounts, as well as basic estate planning including wills, probate and trusts.

An extensive “Meeting Financial Needs” section provides an overview on short-term and long-term expenses and commitments, which often undergo a significant shift during a prolonged illness or death. Accessing resources, managing affairs and handling funeral expenses are all covered at length.

The third and final section is the one Trepeck finds herself referring to a lot: “Survivor’s Issues.” It offers a practical timeline and checklist of tasks immediately after death, two weeks after, and a month after, detailing the types of benefits from Social Security, life insurance and retirement accounts that are available.

It’s a gift for people to be able to leave their families with detailed financial information and end-of-life directives,” Trepeck said. “While they may not be easy conversations to have, they are essential to a family’s peace of mind because during a serious illness or after a death, you’re not going to be able to get this information, let alone be in a frame of mind to process the conversation.

 

MICPA developed “Financial Affairs at the End of Life” for Hospice of Michigan patients and families. The booklet can be downloaded free of charge, along with the organization’s Financial Inventory, at https://www.micpa.org/resource-center/resources-for-the-public/financial-literacy.

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Unleash happiness: Tips for living your happiest life

HEA-Unleash-HappinessWeb(BPT) – Are you living your happiest life? How does your mood affect your health? Is happiness contagious? Researchers are finding these questions are worth asking, and multiple studies show happiness dramatically improves health, productivity, family bonds and even life expectancy. So it’s no surprise that the impact happiness has on people has spawned an initiative to spread happiness throughout the world.

So what can you do to live your happiest life? Researchers say it starts with choosing happiness. Making a conscious choice to be happy positively affects a person’s mood, and over time, can reset a person’s default happiness level, according to two recent studies published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Here’s a look at several ways to choose to be happy, including:

Savor happy moments, in the moment. An individual’s brain is hardwired to remember bad experiences more than good ones as a basis for survival. When something good happens, stopping to savor that moment helps to solidify it in the brain and re-wire it for happiness, according to Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and author of Hardwiring Happiness.

Connect with happy people. To be happy, spend time with happy people. It may seem like common sense, but researchers from Harvard found over the course of a 20-year study, the happiness of one person can increase the happiness of others in their network by an astounding 25 percent.

“In my job, I see firsthand how easily happiness spreads from one person to the next,” says Courtney Gastelo, a bartender at RA Sushi, which has several locations across the U.S. “That’s why RA Sushi’s Happy Hour is so popular – we bring our guests together in a fun atmosphere where they can relax and enjoy great food and drinks with their friends.”

Gastelo recommends not waiting for the weekend; invite friends out for sushi and enjoy Happy Hour any day of the week. Doing so will positively affect the mood of everyone involved, “and science says it’s good for humanity,” she says.

Choose experiences over things. The value of new life experiences also creates happiness. That’s the finding of research from San Francisco State University, which shows that having a new life experience outweighs material purchases when it comes to long-term impact on happiness.

New life experiences don’t have to be expensive trips to exotic locations; they can be as simple as taking a dance class, mastering a cooking skill, trying a new food or learning how to speak another language.

Exercise. Hitting the road or the weights can turn a bad day into a good one. Research from the University of Bristol shows exercising on workdays has an even bigger impact on mood. It’s because exercising releases endorphins that have a powerful effect on happiness.

Going for a walk or hike outside has the added benefit of sunshine and fresh air, too. For an even more powerful happiness boost, researchers suggest finding an exercise buddy.

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Overcoming your fear of donating blood 

"I have never been a fan of needles, which is why it took me so long to become a donor. Even though I was scared, I gave it a chance because my son received blood when he needed it. It's worth a little discomfort to give back and help those in need." Sommer Deering, blood donor and mother to son who is a blood recipient

“I have never been a fan of needles, which is why it took me so long to become a donor. Even though I was scared, I gave it a chance because my son received blood when he needed it. It’s worth a little discomfort to give back and help those in need.”
Sommer Deering, blood donor and mother to son who is a blood recipient

Sommer Deering faces her fear for the sake of her son

From Michigan Blood

When Traverse City residents Sommer and Mike Deering met at the county fair as teenagers, they hit it off right away and bonded over their hobby of raising pigs. They had no idea that their summer meeting would change the course of their lives forever. They fell in love, have been married for 15 years and have two sons.

When their youngest son, Cam, was an infant, he became very sick. The family brought him to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. Baby Cam was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), which is a disorder that causes an overproduction of cells that can form tumors or damage organs. During his week in the hospital, he needed a blood transfusion to survive.

“It was a super scary time for my husband and me,” says Sommer. “But having blood available when we needed it most was very comforting.”

Cam and his family made numerous trips to the hospital for more treatments. Sommer and Mike continued to notice several bags of blood hanging from the IV stands of other sick children.

“It really made me think about how giving blood could be such an incredible help to these little ones going through such tough times,” adds Sommer. “I wanted to start donating blood after witnessing this. I wasn’t sure when I would make that commitment because I am scared of needles and blood—but I knew I wanted to someday.”

Beginning last year, Sommer decided to make good on her promise to donate blood in honor of her son. She was afraid, but gave it a chance because she was so grateful for the donors who saved her son’s life through blood donations.

“Even though I am scared, I get through the process by not looking at the needle or the blood, and then I am just fine! I keep going back—it’s worth a little discomfort in order to give back and help those in need. It makes me happy,” exclaims Sommer.

Michigan Blood thanks the Deering family for their dedication to the mission of saving lives through blood donation, and joins them in their challenge to others to overcome their fear of donating by giving it a chance. What better way to ease someone else’s pain than by facing your fears and donating to help save a life?

Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. There is an urgent need for O-Negative blood donors. Donors with type O-Negative blood, or new donors who do not yet know their blood type, are encouraged to visit their local blood donation center. For additional information on donating blood, and to make an appointment, visit www.miblood.org.

Grand Rapids Donor Center is at 1036 Fuller Ave NE, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, noon to 7 p.m.; Tuesdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to  3:30 p.m.; and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The next blood drive at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church will be Tuesday, April 19, from noon to 7 p.m..

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