CMH spreads awareness during Colon Cancer Awareness Month, raises funds for local patients
By Shiloh Appel
Throughout the month of March, Community Memorial Hospital staff were busy supporting a life-saving cause: colon cancer awareness. According to Dawn Oakley, of the CMH Endoscopy department, the CMH department performed 140 procedures, 27 EGD's (tests on the inside lining of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine) or Gastroscopy and 113 colonoscopies in 2017.
"Each month we are happy to say we saved a life by finding polyps, which are precancerous growths, and removing them during our colonoscopy procedure," said Oakley.
With the month of March officially dubbed Colon Cancer Awareness Month across the nation since the year 2000, Oakley and her endoscopy department decided to make March of 2018 a month and year in which colon cancer awareness was given the spotlight through community events in Redfield for the first time.
"We started with our 'Strikeout Colon Cancer' open bowling on March 3rd," said Oakley."We raised 430 dollars from that campaign."
After the Strikeout Colon Cancer bowling night, CMH held a weekly "Show us your blue" campaign, asking local business employees and Redfield residents to wear blue every Friday in March in honor of Colon Cancer Awareness. CMH even had blue Colon Cancer Awareness shirts made. Those who wore their blue on Fridays were encouraged to take photos and share them with the CMH staff. At the end of the month, the endoscopy team at CMH picked the best "Show us your blue" photos in three categories. Roberta Colclaizer, a 28-year colon cancer survivor, received a prize for her winning photo, the CMH Dietary Department won in the "original" category, and the clinic nursing staff won the "group picture."
The total amount of money raised through the Colon Cancer Awareness events in the month of March was $580.00. According to Oakley, the money will be put towards helping area colon cancer patients with expenses.
"Dr. Chris Larsen comes to us from Avera St. Lukes one to two times a month to provide this very important procedure. We are grateful and proud to offer this here at CMH," said Oakley. "Remember, colon cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable."