USCA Canoe and Kayak National Championship

Sierra Miller wins gold at USCA Nationals event

September 15, 2011 // 0 Comments

by STEPHANIE MILLIS Sierra Miller won the gold medal in the kayak event at the United States Canoe Association (USCA) Nationals, held in Newaygo on August 9. Fifteen-year-old Sierra lost her leg in a lawn mower accident at seven years old. Initially, doctors told Sierra’s parents that even though her leg would be amputated below the knee, she wouldn’t be able to bend her knee. Doctors also said Sierra should expect many surgeries into her adult years. Sierra’s parents had to make a fast decision about their daughter’s amputation. They decided to have the surgeon perform a through-the-knee procedure, which would allow Sierra to bend her knee. The procedure eliminated the need for many of the surgeries down the road. “As her parents, it was an easy decision,” said Shannon Miller, Sierra’s mother. “This option would allow her to run, play and be a normal seven-year-old.” After the initial surgery, Sierra’s amputation became infected. She underwent surgery a second time to remove a portion of her leg above the knee. The surgery still allows Sierra to bend her knee. Sierra is also a patient at Mary Free Bed Orthotics & Prosthetics in Grand Rapids, where she was fitted for her prosthetic leg. Sierra is like any other teenager. She’s enthusiastic and excited to participate in sporting events. A sophomore at Lakeview High School. Sierra is a member of the junior varsity cheerleading squad. In middle school, she participated in wrestling and volleyball. Sierra is the youngest in a family of eight. Being part of military family—where mom, dad and two brothers serve in some branch of the military—Sierra, too, has grown up wanting to serve her country. When she was 13, Sierra wrote a letter to Dave Camp, congressman from Midland, Mich., pleading her case. She told the congressman that it wasn’t fair that she would never be able to serve in the military because she is an amputee. Sierra doesn’t let her amputation slow her down. She has her sights set on participating in the kayak event at the 2016 Paralympics. “I’m not going to give up,” Sierra says. “I will always keep trying.”

ChoiceOne Bank, Spectrum Health join forces to combat childhood obesity

August 11, 2011 // 0 Comments

Great things happen when organizations commit to the health and well-being of their communities. ChoiceOne Bank and Spectrum Health are platinum co-sponsors of the USCA Canoe and Kayak National Championship, a community event taking place on Newaygo’s Muskegon River August 9-14. In addition to mutual sponsorship of this event, ChoiceOne Bank and Spectrum Health will participate in joint fundraising efforts to combat childhood obesity. “We are pleased to share the excitement of this pivotal athletic event for the region,” said ChoiceOne Bank President and Chief Executive Officer James Bosserd. “ChoiceOne looks forward to supporting an event that benefits our local communities. As a community bank, we are also gratified to extend this opportunity to help local youth achieve healthy lifestyles through the Community Health Outreach Fund.” The Community Health Outreach Fund targets efforts to combat childhood obesity. A pilot program focusing on childhood obesity and self-body image for youths ages 11-18 has concluded with significant results. This medically supervised long-term health and weight management program provides support, encouragement and knowledge to participants working toward goals and seeking healthy lifestyles. A pilot group of 12 youths lost a combined 393 pounds—an average participant weight loss of 33 pounds. Additional classes are being planned. “A key strategic initiative for Spectrum Health is to develop healthier communities,” stated Randy Stasik, CEO of Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital. “One way our organization intends to improve the health of our communities is to have an organization-wide fund development strategy that targets community health initiatives. To achieve this goal, the SHGM Community Health Outreach Fund was established.” Patients, customers and the public can join in the fight against childhood obesity. Make a donation by purchasing a “canoe” for $1 (minimum) at any ChoiceOne Bank location, or at the Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital Gift Shop. The 2011 USCA Newaygo Nationals is expected to attract hundreds of world-class paddlers from 30+ states, the Canadian Provinces, and at least five foreign countries, and includes a wide variety of pre- and post-race community events. The Newaygo Area Chamber of Commerce will sponsor live music, children’s activities, family paddling activities, and other events designed to accommodate the paddlers and their families, and to complement race activities. Contact the Newaygo Area Chamber of Commerce at […]