August 19, 2011
After my first fantastic trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I was so excited to go back for three more Prevent Cancer Super ColonTM stops in the Lower Peninsula! One person I met told me that after the tour, I was going to be well acquainted with Michigan and that Michigan was going to be well acquainted with my Colon – one of the countless “colon” jokes I’ve heard over the past month!
These stops were a continuation of the five-stop tour organized by Noel Pingatore of the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan. I must say that it was a joy to see such a beautiful state and work with such wonderful people. Overall, I must agree with the catch phrase “Say YES to Michigan!”
A personal highlight from my trip may come as a shock to many of you. I did a lot of driving around the state and ended up having to do something that is not typical for a New Jersey native – I had to pump my own gas! New Jersey is one of two states where it is illegal to pump it yourself. When you do it all your life you probably don’t think twice about it, but for me it was an adventure. I tried to take a video of it until I started getting weird looks from the people around me.
My first event was in Mt. Pleasant, about an hour north of Lansing. It was a privilege to be part of the 27th Annual Saginaw Chippewa Pow Wow on August 6! The event was initially set up outside in a giant circle of tents, but due to the rain, it was moved inside the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. Throughout the afternoon we were able to not only reach tribal members but also the general public visiting the casino. Thanks to Tracy Pigeon and some very enthusiastic volunteers, we had a productive day with over 600 people walking through our exhibit.
The second event was in the town of Dorr, a short half hour drive south of Grand Rapids. The Gun Lake Tribe’s (Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians) Health and Human Services Department celebrated their new Wellness Center offices with a great open house. The combined attraction of the Prevent Cancer Super Colon, the variety of services available at the wellness center, the great reception and the raffle prizes drew out much of the community on August 8. Even Tribal Chairman D.K. Sprague walked through the exhibit, which was filmed for the tribal archives. The entire event, organized by Phyllis Davis, was a success!
Our tour of Michigan ended in Lansing at the Ingham Regional Medical Center on August 10. We set up in the parking lot near the patient entrance and saw a variety of people. Angela McFall coordinated the event and recruited volunteers to help attract people, hand out materials and answer questions. Not only did patients stop by, but doctors and nurses came outside to spend their break times in the Prevent Cancer Super Colon! Healthcare professionals in many different departments enjoyed learning about colorectal cancer.