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My Town GR North: Students Jump Rope for Heart; net $11,111 for charity

My Town GR North: Students Jump Rope for Heart; net $11,111 for charity

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Knapp Charter Academy students put their hearts to work this past Valentine's Day;  now the American Heart Association is seeing the reward.

On Friday, March 7, the school presented a large check for $11,111 to the local chapter of the American Heart Association.  Students raised the money through a Jump Rope for Heart event on Feb. 14.   All of the proceeds will go to the American Heart Association to help raise awareness to cardiovascular and stroke prevention programs.

My Town GR North: Catherine's Health Center gets cancer prevention grant

My Town GR North: Catherine's Health Center gets cancer prevention grant

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer will claim 40,000 lives this year.

Now one organization is getting a financial boost to help curb its impact.

The Avon Breast Health Outreach Program is giving Catherine’s Health Center a one year grant of $26,300  for its Count Me In program, which increases awareness of the benefits of detecting breast cancer early, educates at-risk women about breast health and ensures access to care.  This is the eighth year Catherine’s Health Center has received funding from the Avon Foundation for Women to address this health issue.

Since 2006, the Count Me In program at Catherine's Health Center has provided breast cancer prevention information to 7,900 women and referred almost 1,800 women for mammograms and clinical breast exams.

American Red Cross in need of blood after donation drop

American Red Cross in need of blood after donation drop

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The American Red Cross is trying to rebound after a devastating drop in donations caused by severe winter weather.

From Jan. 2 through Feb. 10, the organization says more than 1,000 of its blood drives nationwide were canceled, leading to a loss of about 35,000 blood and platelet donations.  The Red Cross says the impact is equivalent to the organization shutting down its national operations for more than two full days. 

“On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 units of blood every day to help patients nationwide,” said Todd Kulman, communications program manager of the Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region.  “Regardless of the weather, patients are counting on blood products to be there when needed.”

Catherine's Health Center grant to help low-income heart health

Catherine's Health Center grant to help low-income heart health

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A heart health community program at Catherine’s Health Center  is getting a financial boost.

AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular Health program is giving the health center a grant of $163,387 for its Live Heart Smart initiative.  This is the second year Catherine’s Health Center has received such a grant.

Live Heart Smart helps low-income Grand Rapids community members track their risk factors for heart disease and create a plan for a healthier lifestyle.

"In a word, we're thrilled that the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation Connections for Cardiovascular Health  program honored us with a grant to provide at-risk people access to screening, information and more to help improve heart health in our community," said Karen Kaashoek, executive director, Catherine's Health Center.

Number of Kent County flu-related deaths rises to five

Number of Kent County flu-related deaths rises to five

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Kent County Health Department is reporting the fifth flu-related death within the county this season.

Health officials say the latest victim is a Kent County man over the age of 50.  Tests confirm he had the H1N1 strain of influenza, which seems to be the predominant strain sickening people this season.  It’s unclear if underlying medical conditions played a role in his death.

“Health care providers report a leveling-off of cases of flu-like illness in recent weeks, but we still need to practice prevention,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “In some years, we see flu season peaks as late as March. If you are suffering from the symptoms, consider seeking help from a health care provider, and stay home until you recover.” 

St. Matthew Lutheran Church says "no" to hunger

St. Matthew Lutheran Church says "no" to hunger

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- On Saturday, Feb. 8, the new gymnasium and multipurpose room at St. Matthew Lutheran Church was filled with the laughter of children for the first time during a Kids Against Hunger food packing event.

In all, 120 volunteers from the congregation and community packaged 11,376 meals for hungry children and their families.  Of the meals packaged, 3,456 went to the John Knox food pantry on Kalamazoo Avenue in Grand Rapids.  The remaining meals will go to third world countries in dire need and those devastated by a natural disaster.

St. Matthew and Thrivent Financial Services provided the funding for the event.   Kids Against Hunger – Grand Rapids delivered all the equipment, food, packing materials and tables.  Chuck Bailey, director for KAH-Grand Rapids trained the volunteers and managed the event.  They started setting up at 7:30 a.m.

Kent County turns to community to set health priorities

Kent County turns to community to set health priorities

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Healthy Kent and the Kent County Health Department will begin tapping the community for ideas to make the county healthier Tuesday, Feb. 11.

From more health food stores to more mental health services, all ideas are welcome as both groups collect information for the 2014 Community Health Needs Assessment.

"The best way to ensure success of our health programs is to focus on what we can address and what we can improve, said Adam London, Kent County health officer who has dedicated staff working with Healthy Kent. "The data and information gathered in this step will help us develop top priorities to improve health outcomes in Kent County."

Local health departments are required to update their Community Health Needs Assessment every five years for state accreditation.  Hospitals must update their CHNA every three years.

The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Feb.