Health, Medicine & Nutrition
In Iowa's Interest: Carroll Native Outlines Importance of Health Insurance Coverage in Cancer Care PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 14:50
By Senator Tom Harkin

In emotional testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee last week, Carroll native Stacy Cook described her experience battling breast cancer and having to pay out-of-pocket for services when she was denied health care coverage.

The testimony came during a hearing I convened to examine progress at the state and federal levels in creating health insurance exchanges authorized by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and to review the new consumer protections that will begin in 2014. Having worked to help craft the law, I wanted to hear firsthand how these changes will impact consumers.

Cook was first diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2004, when she was 28 years old.  At the time, she was fortunate to have adequate health insurance through her job to receive the care that she needed.    But in March of 2012, after moving to Arizona, the cancer reappeared.   She underwent a mastectomy only to discover her insurance would not cover the procedure or the chemotherapy treatments she would need.  Further, the insurance would pay for only five doctor visits a year.

It was only after friends and family intervened that she was able to afford three of the six chemotherapy treatments that were recommended by her oncologist.

Cook’s growing medical bills left her unable to pay her rent in Arizona, forcing her to move back in with her family.  After she moved back to Iowa, she continued her search for health insurance coverage.  Sadly, she has been denied coverage and is continuing to pay out-of-pocket for care.

“Unfortunately, I am now $40,000 in debt because of my medical bills, and I feel that I will likely need to file bankruptcy in 2013,” she described to the HELP Committee.

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, as of January 1st of next year insurance companies cannot discriminate against Americans with preexisting conditions, or charge higher premiums based on health status or gender, and their ability to raise premiums based on age will be limited.

“I now have peace of mind knowing that, in 2014, I will no longer be denied coverage because of my pre-existing condition – cancer,” Cook continued.  “Having access to affordable insurance coverage and quality medical care will give me a better peace of mind for the future. My future is much brighter today than before the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, and for that I am very grateful.”

It is testimony like Stacy’s that make this fight so personal, so important to increasing access to quality, affordable health care in our country.  It was stories like hers that inspired the debate when we were crafting this law and will lead to the progress when the full benefits of this law are realized next year.

If you have a story about how the Affordable Care Act will help you or your family, please share it via my website at

A PDF version of this article is available by clicking here.


Think You’re Healthy? Would You Know if You Weren't? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 14:43
Oncologist Offers 7 Tips for Increasing Awareness

Not too long ago – just after World War II – few people in the United States brushed their teeth with any regularity. Now, the mere thought of going an entire day or night without brushing one’s teeth is simply out of the question for most.

Hopefully, someday in the near future, a similar attitude will prevail regarding mental well-being, says Dr. Matt Mumber, an oncologist and author of “Sustainable Wellness: An Integrative Approach to Transform Your Mind, Body, and Spirit,” (, coauthored by Yoga therapist Heather Reed.

“Human happiness and well-being are rudderless without awareness, which I define as the quality of paying attention to what’s going on in the present moment from an inquisitive, nonjudgmental and focused perspective,” he says.

An easy way to think of optimal wellbeing might be to envision a three-legged stool, says Reed.

“The three legs include physical activity, nutrition and that underappreciated component missing from too many Americans’ lives – stress management, or a healthy mental state,” she says.

After checking off a healthy diet and exercise from the list, how does one go about ensuring a healthy mind? Mumber and Reed say the key is mindfulness, which they define as paying attention on purpose, non-judgmentally and as though your life depended on it. Framed another way, mindfulness means focusing on something without trying to change it, like the sky holding passing clouds without clinging to them.

They describe the states necessary for attaining mindfulness:

• Beginner’s mind is the ability to see things with new eyes. The Bible warns against putting new wine in old wine skins – doing so risks tainting the new stock. A beginner’s mind opens people to the world of possibilities that exist in the present moment. That does not mean throwing away good ideas from the past; rather, it means to entertain new ideas with a truly open sensibility.

• Trust: Believe in your authority to know your own body, thoughts and feelings. We need to have the confidence necessary to trust that our thoughts and feelings at any given moment have value.

• Non-judging is the ability to see things for what they are, to hold an open and neutral place for whatever comes up within and around you, without thinking of anything as categorically better or worse than anything else.

• Patience is a willingness to continue with the process of paying attention on purpose even when it appears that no progress is being made. Learning and growing through mindful practice happens with time, and we can’t force the outcome.

• Acceptance refers to allowing whatever comes up in the moment to be held in our field of awareness. This is not the same as giving up or being passive; acceptance is merely acknowledgement.

• Letting go is refusing to attach to specific thoughts, feelings or behaviors. This can feel like losing something, but every time we let go, we open ourselves to something new and, potentially, deeper.

• Non-striving: In our goal-oriented society, this may seem counterintuitive. However, non-striving refers only to practicing mindfulness without expectation of some future goal or dream, which helps us better live in the now.

“By having our three-legged stool firmly planted in awareness, we can drop into what we typically call a sense of spiritual wellbeing,’ says Mumber.

About Matt Mumber, MD & Heather Reed

Matt Mumber, MD, is a practicing board-certified radiation oncologist with the Harbin Clinic in Rome, Ga. He completed his radiation oncology residency at Wake Forest University Bowman Gray School of Medicine and graduated from the Associate Fellowship Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. Dr. Mumber is past president of the Georgia Society of Clinical Oncology. He founded Cancer Navigators Inc, a non-profit organization offering cancer patients access to nurse navigation, social services and educational programs to support and augment the clinical care they receive. Dr. Mumber received the Hamilton Jordan Founders Award for involvement in statewide oncology activities and in 2008 he was named a Health Care Hero by Georgia Trend magazine.

Heather Reed has been teaching Yoga since 1996. She expresses an integrative, adaptive approach and specializes in using Yoga and meditation techniques for people living with cancer, post-polio syndrome and other chronic illnesses. Heather received an Experienced Teacher Certification from Esther Myers Yoga Teacher Training Program and has had extensive training with senior staff of the Commonweal Cancer Help program and Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. She developed Yoga classes for cancer patients at The Wellness Community, Atlanta. Since 2008, she has been Yoga teacher and co-facilitator for the Residential Retreat Program for Cancer Navigators of Rome, Ga.

Christian Care Hosts Understanding Suicide Support Group PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Lindsey Probizanski   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 14:35
Rock Island, IL –Christian Care, a local nonprofit charity that provides shelter for homeless men and for women and children who have experienced domestic violence, now offers a support group called Understanding Suicide: ASAP (Awareness, Support, Action, Prevention). The group has been formed to serve individuals who have contemplated or attempted suicide, those coping with the suicide of a loved one and those concerned about a loved one.

The Understanding Suicide group will meet the first and third Wednesday of every month from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Christian Care’s Rescue Mission located at 2209 3rd Ave in Rock Island. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 17 th at 4:00 p.m. Although a mental health professional will facilitate the group, this is not a therapy group.

The group’s goal is to provide education, resources, support and an opportunity to share and process thoughts and feelings related to suicide. Participants will be able to share experiences related to suicide, learn suicide’s warning signs, understand the process for helping at-risk individuals, and provide information and knowledge about preventing suicide. For more information about this group, call Sharon De Frieze at (309) 737-4658 or visit Christian Care’s website at For those in danger, call Christian Care’s Crisis Hotline at (309) 788-2273.


Give blood in honor of World Red Cross Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ben Corey   
Monday, 15 April 2013 15:23

PEORIA,Ill. (April 15, 2013) — May 8 is World Red Cross Day, and the American Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to celebrate by donating lifesaving blood in their communities. The need is constant, and all blood types are needed, especially O negative, B negative and A negative.

For more than 130 years, the Red Cross has been dedicated to helping people in communities large and small across the U.S. It is the only humanitarian services organization that provides blood services, serves as the emergency communication link between military personnel and their families, offers health and safety training and responds to disasters of all types and sizes.

Join the Red Cross family this month and make an appointment to give blood in honor of World Red Cross Day at

World Red Cross Day

World Red Cross Day is celebrated every year on May 8, the birthday of Henry Dunant, who officially founded the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement nearly 100 years ago. The holiday recognizes worldwide efforts to advocate for the relief of human suffering, whether from disease, disaster, war or famine.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Carroll County
May 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at West Carroll High School, 500 Cragmoor Drive in Savanna, Ill.

Clinton County
May 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ashford University Calling Center, 1310 19th Ave. North in Clinton, Iowa

Henry County
May 2 from 12-6 p.m. at First United Methodist Church South Campus Building, 302 N. State St. in Geneseo, Ill.
May 8 from 1:15-5:15 p.m. at First Christian Church, 105 Dwight St. in Kewanee, Ill.
May 9 from 2-6 p.m. at St. John’s Vianney Church, 313 S. West St. in Cambridge, Ill.

Mercer County
May 2 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sherrard High School, 4701 176th in Sherrard, Ill.

Whiteside County
May 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fulton High School, 1207 12th St. in Fulton, Ill.
May 1 from 2-6 p.m. at American Red Cross, 112 W. Second St. in Rock Falls, Ill.
May 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Army National Guard, 716 Sixth Ave. in Rock Falls, Ill.
May 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Prophetstown High School, 310 Riverside in Prophetstown, Ill.
May 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Erie High School, 435 Sixth Ave. in Erie, Ill.
May 7 from 8-11 a.m. at River Bend Senior Center, 912 Fourth St. in Fulton, Ill.
May 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at American Red Cross, 112 W. Second St. in Rock Falls, Ill.
May 9 from 3-8 p.m. at Tampico United Methodist Church, 202 Lincoln Ave. in Tampico, Ill.
May 13 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at Montmorency School, 9415 Hoover Road in Rock Falls, Ill.
May 14 from 1-5:15 p.m. at River Bend Senior Center, 912 Fourth St. in Fulton, Ill.
May 15 from 2-6 p.m. at American Red Cross, 112 W. Second St. in Rock Falls, Ill.

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.™

How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an
appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for
patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required
at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh
at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school
students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and
weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters;
supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides
international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red
Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the
American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join
our blog at


Summer Time Shouldn’t be Hungry Time PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Amanda D. Browne   
Monday, 15 April 2013 15:09

Help Feed Hungry Kids through USDA’s Summer Food Service Program 

By Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

In the midst of winter/spring, it can be easy to forget those long, hot days of June, July, and August.  Even so, now is the time to start applying and planning to feed hungry children when the school year ends.

More than 21 million children in the country receive free and reduced price meals during the school year, but when summer rolls around, only about 1 in 10 of those kids (3 million) get free meals through federal summer feeding programs.  Clearly, there is a gap that needs filling.

Enter USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.  Kids are at higher risk of going hungry during the summer months, and we are working to fill that void.  USDA alone, however, cannot accomplish the important work of feeding our low-income kids.  You and your organizations have an important role to play. 

Faith-based, community and private non-profit organizations are pivotal in the lives of needy children.  And schools, churches, recreation centers, playgrounds, parks, and camps are all eligible and encouraged to serve summer meals in neighborhoods with a high percentage of low-income families.  These locations, by their very nature, offer safe and familiar environments and are places children gather when school is out.

But feeding hungry young people requires commitment.  Sponsors must provide a capable staff, managerial skills and food service capabilities.   Sponsors may provide their own meals, purchase meals through an agreement with an area school, or contract for meals with a food vendor.

If you don’t want to be a sponsor but still want to be involved, your organization can be a summer feeding site. There are sponsors in your area who can work with you to feed the children in your community.  And don’t forget to register your summer feeding sites for the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-HAMBRE.

The most successful summer programs offer activities for kids. Children are much more likely to come out for a meal when there is an activity to keep them there. It can include anything from sports, tutoring and arts and crafts, to other creative activities with community partners. Developing partnerships with other community organizations is often the key to being able to offer great activities.

To learn more about the Summer Food Service Program or to participate in one of USDA’s free webinar sessions on opportunities to provide summer meals, please visit  These helpful webinars will highlight the program, offer an understanding of how SFSP works, detail sponsor and site roles and responsibilities, and provide outreach tips and other resources to get started.

Together we can continue to tackle childhood hunger and ensure kids receive the nutritious meals they need in summer, and throughout the year.  We look forward to working with you to meet that goal.

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