Whole grains fight colon cancer, bushels fund the fight

grainflyerLocal grain elevators help GCHS raise bushels to fund new Endoscopy equipment

Greeley County Health Services is currently in need of a new Endoscopy system, which includes equipment to perform colonoscopies and detect colon cancer.

Local grain elevators, Tribune Grain and United Plains Ag, have decided to join with GCHS and allow farmers to donate grain towards a fund that will support a new scope to perform colonoscopies.

GCHS has hosted several fundraising endeavors for the new scope already. In April, GCHS hosted a handbag and accessory fundraiser. An assortment of purses, handbags, wallets, and other accessories was brought in by a fundraising company known as “Boutique to U.”

“The purse fundraiser was very successful. We raised over $2000 for the new endoscopy equipment,” Debbi Lehner, CEO, said.

Before the purse fundraiser, GCHS hosted “Bowling for Bowels,” a bowling tournament to raise money for the scope. The tournament was held at Tribune Fun Bowl on March 31 and raised a net total of $1,000.

“We had 11 team entries and two more sponsorships, so we filled 13 of the total 18 open teams. I thought the whole event went pretty well, we didn’t sell all of the slots, but we had a decent turnout,” Jim Smith, CFO, said.

According to Stephanie Wineinger, Head of Nursing, the endoscopy system that the hospital currently has is about ten years old.

“The lower scope is on its last leg and must be replaced, but the whole system needs updated so we can get better imaging and faster diagnostics,” Wineinger said.

Wineinger also said that the system has broken down twice during recent colonoscopies. After the system breaks down, they have to send it off to get fixed and cause patients to wait weeks until it is repaired.

“It’s such a huge inconvenience when we have a patient and the system all set up to do a procedure and the machine quits working,” Wineinger said, “We’d like to never have that happen again to our patients.”

Wineinger reported that the hospital conducts about ten colonoscopies each month, and they used to do more, but the machine is definitely showing its age and has glitches frequently. The cost of a new Endoscopy machine is about $125,000. This price would include all of the components of the system including a monitor, the scope, a dictation device, and the camera on the scope. According to Wineinger, with the current economic conditions, the hospital just can’t afford to upgrade the equipment, so the hospital is seeking help from the community.

“We really want to be able to offer quality services to our patients, but we must have some help to be able to do that,” Wineinger said.

Dan Hild, Tribune Grain manager, said that his father died of colon cancer, so having reliable colonoscopy equipment here is a very important and personal cause to him.

“There are only about 5,000 people on this entire planet that care whether or not this hospital even exists. You’re one of them, so we need to work together to support it and make it what it is,” Hild said.

By setting up a way for farmers to simply write on their elevator tickets to donate bushels of grain, GCHS was hoping to make supporting the cause more convenient to the community members.

“We want to promote grain as well because a diet with whole grain helps prevent colon cancer,” Wineinger said, “So we thought this could be a neat way to connect the two.”

All locations of the Tribune Grain elevators and the United Plains Ag elevators in Wallace and Greeley county are participating in the endeavor. The fundraiser will include wheat harvest and fall harvest, so farmers can donate during all the harvest seasons this year.

The main slogan for the fundraising campaign is “Whole grains fight colon cancer, bushels fund the fight.”

Greeley County Health Services is also setting up a thermometer to track the progress of the scope fundraising. If you are interested in more information or want updated on the status of the fundraising, you can look at the website, www.mygchs.com or you can come by 321 Harper Street in Tribune.

GCHS is also taking non-grain donations. If you are interested in giving to support the new Endoscopy equipment, you can make your checks to GCHS Scope Fund. If you need more information, you can contact Stephanie Wineinger, Head of Nursing, or Jim Smith, CFO, at 620-376-4221 or visit www.mygchs.com.

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