Health System Offers ‘Rollin’ With the Colon’ Event


Munson Healthcare is hosting a free community event on Thursday, April 13, to bring awareness to colon health.

A Colon Cancer Awareness Panel and Mini-Expo will take place from 5 - 7:30 p.m. at the Cowell Family Cancer Center, 217 S. Madison St., in Traverse City.

The event will spotlight colorectal cancer screening, prevention, and treatment – and will feature an inflatable colon from the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. Attendees will have the opportunity to walk through the colon and examine its various stages of disease — including Crohn’s, polyps, colon cancer, and more. 

Munson Healthcare colon and gastrointestinal health experts also will share a brief presentation and panel discussion covering colorectal cancer statistics, risk factors, and screening guidelines. The panel will be moderated by Kathy LaRaia, vice president of Oncology and Professional Services. Panelists include:

  • Laura Johnson, M.S., CGC, genetic counselor
  • Erin Williams, R.D., and Natalie Crew, R.D., dietitians
  • William Reichardt, D.O., medical oncologist/hematologist
  • Edward Hagen, M.D., colorectal surgeon
  • Alexander Weick, M.D., gastroenterologist, Digestive Health
  • Steven Normandin, patient panelist – “Omelette” KLT Radio host 

As a part of the panel, Normandin, a colorectal cancer patient and survivor, will detail his journey and join the medical experts in taking audience questions.

Attendees will also find a mini-expo featuring educational booths from Munson Healthcare’s oncology, surgical, and patient support teams where experts will be available to answer questions about colorectal cancer and colonoscopies. Nurse navigators, who play a crucial role in supporting patients and caregivers through their cancer treatment journey, will be on-site as well. The expo will be open prior to and following the panel.

A short scavenger hunt along the Kid’s Creek walking path will allow participants to test their knowledge of colorectal cancer and prevention for a change to win prizes. 

The event schedule includes: 

  • 5 - 5:45 pm: Expo and Scavenger Hunt Trail Open
  • 5:45 - 6:45 pm: Panel Discussion
  • 6:45 - 7:30 pm: Expo and Scavenger Hunt Trail Open

LaRaia said colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable.

“Screening can prevent colorectal cancer through the detection and removal of pre-cancerous growths commonly known as polyps. Screening can also detect cancer at an early stage when treatment is more successful,” she said. “Fifty-five percent of colorectal cancers are attributed to modifiable risk factors including obesity, physical inactivity, long-term smoking, and consuming an unhealthy diet.”

Registration is not required.