Hope Starts Here Challenge scheduled for May 10

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In recognition of Brain Tumor Awareness month, the Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center will host its 9th annual River Valley Hope Starts Here Challenge on Saturday, May 10.

Proceeds from the event will support the advocacy, education and research programs of the Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center. The UMBTC is a collaborative effort between Marquette General Hospital, Northern Michigan University and the Superior Health Foundation. Its mission is to empower patients and families dealing with brain tumors through advocacy, research, education and treatment.

There are five event options this year suitable for all ages and levels of ability:

  1. Beginning at 8 a.m., the competitive half marathon will take runners around scenic Presque Isle Park and along Lake Superior south to the Carp River and back, finishing at Lakeview Arena.  Awards will be given for top overall and age group finishers. Preregistration cost is $65. Price increases to $75 the day of event.
  2. Beginning at 9 a.m., the competitive duathlon will consist of a 5k run, 10-mile mountain bike and 5k run. Awards will be given for top overall individuals and teams, and top finishers in age groups. The start, transition and finish for the course will be held inside Lakeview Arena. Preregistration cost is $65 for individuals, and teams of 2-3 person is $55 per team member. The day of the event, individual price increases to $75; team member price increases to $65.
  3. Beginning at 10 a.m., the competitive 10K run takes runners out and around Presque Isle Park. Awards will be given for top overall and age group finishers. Preregistration cost is $35. Price increases to $40 the day of event.
  4. Beginning at 10:15 a.m., the competitive 5K run takes participants along the shore of Lake Superior to the ore dock near Presque Isle and back. Awards will be given for top overall and age group finishers. Preregistration cost is $35. Price increases to $40 the day of event.
  5. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., the non-competitive leisure walk/short bike ride will parallel the shore of Lake Superior heading south on the bike path toward Lower Harbor. This event is great for families of all ages with distance up to each participant. Preregistration cost is $35. Price increases to $40 the day of event.

The start and finish for each event will be held at the Lakeview Arena. For detailed course information for each event, click here.

New this year is a pre event expo. From 5-7 pm e/t on Friday, May 9, you will be able to pick up your packet, get some cool UMBTC merchandise and SWAG and register. It will take place in the North Building lobby on the campus of Marquette General Hospital.

T-shirt and lunch are included with each paid registration. Individual lunches can be purchased separately for $5. Lunch and awards presentation will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Lakeview Arena.All riders must wear a bicycle helmet. Cyclists under 18 must have a parent sign a release. Children 5 and under register for free. Cost for lunch and t-shirt is $15 for a child 5 under. To register online, please click here.

Free Skin Screenings to be held throughout U.P.

The Marquette General Cancer Center is offering free skin cancer screenings in Marquette (April 26), Escanaba (May 10) and Hancock (May 17). The skin screenings are free of charge and offered by appointment, and are co-sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology and the Marquette General Cancer Center.

Marquette (appointments are required): Dr. Milton Soderberg and Dr. Jennifer Baldwin, board-certified dermatologists on staff at Marquette General, will offer brief examinations of unusual moles or lesions for signs of cancer on Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. – 12Noon at the Marquette General Hematology/Oncology office, located in Suite 332 of the Upper Peninsula Medical Center. For an appointment, please call (906) 225-3500 or (800) 562-9753, ext. 3500.

Escanaba (appointments are required): Dr. Milton Soderberg, board-certified dermatologist on staff at Marquette General, will offer brief examinations of unusual moles or lesions for signs of cancer on Saturday, May 10, from 9 a.m. – 12Noon at Marquette General Hematology/Oncology Escanaba, Ste. 400, 710 S. Lincoln Road. For an appointment, please call at (906) 233-9363 or (800) 613-6424.

Hancock (appointments are required): Dr. Milton Soderberg and Dr. Jennifer Baldwin, board-certified dermatologists on staff at Marquette General, will offer brief examinations of unusual moles or lesions for signs of cancer on Saturday, May 17, from 9 a.m. – 12Noon in Suite 5 of the Portage Health campus located at 500 Campus Drive. For an appointment, please call (906) 483-1149 or email ccosellian@portagehealth.org.

MGH physician undergoes brand new spinal procedure

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Dr. J Bryan Dixon (right), Sports Medicine Specialist, was the first patient to undergo a new spinal procedure performed by Dr. Matthew Songer (left), Orthopedic Surgeon.

Sports Medicine Physician Dr. J. Bryan Dixon was enjoying Father’s Day at home with his family, it was a pleasant day – until he sneezed.

“I felt a pop, and immediately developed searing pain in my back, and then in my leg,” said Dixon.

A few hours went by, and Dixon continued to experience excruciating pain, which could only be relieved by holding his leg tightly to his chest. Unable to sit or stand for more than a couple minutes, he knew he needed help so he headed to the Marquette General Emergency Department to get evaluated.

An MRI revealed that Dixon herniated a disc in his spine, severely compressing a nerve and triggering the pain, weakness and numbness in his leg.

Dr. Dixon had undergone back surgery before and understood this time he would likely need surgical fusion of his spine. Spinal fusion is a common and effective surgical technique that joins two or more vertebrae with the use of metal rods and screws.
However, the next day when he met with Orthopedic Spine Surgeon Dr. Matthew Songer, of the Advanced Center for Orthopedics, he was presented with a new minimally invasive, non-fusion option.

“Dr. Songer revealed to me a brand new procedure he would be performing at MGH, called the Coflex procedure. It was a great option for me and I became his first Coflex patient at MGH,” said Dixon.

Coflex is a titanium alloy implant that fits between the spinous processes of the bones in the lower back following decompression surgery to provide stability in the spinal column. The device can help relieve back pain symptoms by stabilizing the movement of the spine. Unlike a fusion procedure, the Coflex implant maintains mobility and function, allows a person to bend forward and backward without pain, and helps other spinal segments in the spine maintain natural motion.

“It’s designed to keep your spine still so when you stand upright the nerves in your back will not be pinched or cause pain. It does this by helping maintain the normal foraminal height and motion in the spine where the device is implanted,” said Dr. Songer. “And it’s flexible enough to support the spine without having to fuse the bones together, which allows even more movement of the back than a fusion would.”

This procedure can be used on most patients suffering from conditions like lumbar disc herniation, lumbar degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. Also, a patient experiences shorter operating times and hospital stays, quicker recovery time and pain relief, and greater mobility.

Realizing the benefits of the Coflex procedure compared to fusion, Dr. Dixon eagerly agreed to the surgery.

“I knew I wanted the Coflex procedure, and that I would be in excellent hands with the highly skilled surgical team at MGH. It was great having access to the most advanced technology right here at home,” said Dixon.

Four days after his visit to the MGH Emergency Department, Dixon underwent the Coflex procedure at Marquette General Hospital by Dr. Songer. After a successful surgery, Dixon recovered at MGH overnight. Three weeks later he was back in his office seeing patients.

“The care I received was excellent – all of it. Dr. Songer and his team did a wonderful job,” said Dixon. “And being on the other side of the table – being a patient with a critical problem– it helped me develop a deeper understanding of what my own patients go through. It made me a better doctor.”

Innovative quality care and the availability of cutting-edge medicine at MGH through collaborations with surgeons like Dr. Songer and Advanced Center for Orthopedics are available right here in the Upper Peninsula.

Blood supply in the Upper Peninsula at critical low

The U.P. Regional Blood Center, a service of Marquette General Hospital, is experiencing a critical need for blood throughout the Upper Peninsula.

Types of blood needed are A-positive, A-negative, B-negative, and O-negative.

“The target we set for each blood type is dwindling,” said Sallie Coron, of the U.P. Regional Blood Center. “For example, our target for A-positive blood is to have 115 pints available, and right now we only have 65.”

The following are a few reasons for the low blood supply:

  • Cold and flu season – people aren’t healthy enough to donate blood
  • Bad weather prevents people from donating at a local blood drive or donating at the Blood Center
  • Bad weather causes the Blood Center to cancel blood drives, especially when schools are closed

Currently, the supply is as follows:

  • A-positive: 57 percent of target goal
  • A-negative: 28 percent of target goal
  • B-negative: 54 percent of target goal
  • O-negative: 33 percent of target goal

“In order to continue supplying blood to the people of the Upper Peninsula, we must reach our target goal,” said Coron. “We are urging those who are able to donate to call and make an appointment at one of our service sites.”

To be eligible to donate blood, a person must be at least 16 years old, in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and have a picture ID. (Those who are 16 year old must have parental consent).

The donation process is a quick and simple. A technician performs a brief medical screening to check blood pressure, pulse, temperature and hemoglobin levels. This helps assure safe blood for patients, and also provides a quick check-up for donors. The entire process takes about 45 minutes, while the actual donation will only take about 10 minutes.

All blood donated at the UP Regional Blood Center stays in the Upper Peninsula. One pint of blood can be used to help three different people in the U.P., and helps 13 Upper Peninsula hospitals.

You can donate blood at the following service sites:

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Escanaba

  • 710 South Lincoln Suite 200
  • For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (906) 786-8420

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Hancock

  • 787 Market St., Ste. #6, Quincy Center on Market Street, next to Pat’s Food
  • For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (906) 483-1392.

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Marquette

  • 427 West College Ave. – Adjacent to Marquette General Hospital
  • For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (906) 225-4610

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Sault Ste. Marie

  • 550 Osborn St.
  • For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (906) 632-1177

Critical need for blood throughout Upper Peninsula

144955483The U.P. Regional Blood Center, a service of Marquette General, is in critical need of A-positive, A-negative, O-negative and B-negative blood throughout Upper Peninsula. The need is high is Escanaba, Hancock, Iron Mountain, Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie.

If you haven’t donated in the last 8 weeks, please take the time to give the “gift of life.” Did you know that just 1 pint of your blood can help save 3 lives? All blood donated at the UP Regional Blood Center stays in the UP.

Please donate at one of the following locations:

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Escanaba

  • 710 South Lincoln Suite 200
  • For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (906) 786-8420

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Hancock

  • 787 Market St., Ste. #6, Quincy Center on Market Street, next to Pat’s Food
  • For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (906) 483-1392.

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Iron Mountain

  • Medical Arts Building, Ste. 315 /1711, S. Stephenson Ave.
  • For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (906) 774-1012

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Marquette

  • 427 West College Ave. – Adjacent to Marquette General Hospital
  • For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (906) 225-4610

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Sault Ste. Marie

  • 550 Osborn St.
  • For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (906) 632-1177

Sugar doubles heart disease risk?

TV6 & FOX UP news stopped by today to talk to MGH Registered Dietitian Sherri Rule about a new study that says excess sugar may double heart disease risk. The white vial Sherri is holding shows how much sugar is in a 12 ounce can of soda. The story will air Monday night on the TV 6 News Extra. Stay tuned!

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