Cancer, Big Rapids Hospital, Reed City Hospital

LOSB, BR Products take lead in Wheatlake races; Bank, manufacturer set fundraising pace

Lake-Osceola State Bank and Big Rapids Products have broken from the starting line as lead sponsors for the annual Wheatlake Festival of Races to raise funds for patient wellness services at Spectrum Health Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City.

March 1, 2018

BIG RAPIDS AND REED CITY, Mich., March 1, 2018 – Lake-Osceola State Bank and Big Rapids Products have broken from the starting line as lead sponsors for the annual Wheatlake Festival of Races.

The May 19 multi-run/walk event is a fundraiser for patient wellness services at Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City.

Lake-Osceola State Bank (LOSB) has signed on as the 2018 Community Champion sponsor, while Big Rapids Products is this year’s Race Bib sponsor. Both lead sponsorships are at the top $2,000 level.

Both firms are long-time supporters of the hospitals in Big Rapids and Reed City, as well as the affiliated cancer center.

“We recognize the vital role the Susan P. Wheatlake cancer center has in providing comprehensive cancer services for people close to home,” said Deborah Smith-Olson, chair and CEO of LOSB, who serves on both the hospital board and the foundation board for the local hospitals. “The free patient services the Festival of Races helps to provide are critical for the continued recovery of cancer patients.”

“We are proud to continue our sponsorship of the Wheatlake Festival of Races,” said John Chaput, president of automotive supplier Big Rapids Products. “The event helps fund services for patients at the wellness center within the cancer center. We’ve seen the positive effects on the lives of those receiving treatment at the cancer center.”

The Wheatlake Festival of Races includes a half marathon, 10K and 5K runs, a 5K wellness walk, and a special kids dash. All events end at the band shell behind Big Rapids Middle School.

There is still one $2,000 sponsorship available: the Ribbon Sponsor for the half marathon run from Reed City to Big Rapids. Many other sponsorships are available, ranging up to $1,500.

Other sponsors already lined up for the event include B103.9 Radio (Trailblazer), Wolverine Power Cooperative and Mecosta County Park Commission (Pacesetter), as well as Hinkle-Whitbeck Agency, West Michigan Credit Union, New Horizon Landscape, Holiday Inn of Big Rapids, and Ice Mountain~Nestle Waters (Wellness Warriors). Additional sponsorships are available in all of these major sponsor categories.

Participant registration up dramatically

Information on sponsorships and individual participant registration is available online at Participant registration this week topped the 160 mark, already exceeding last year’s registration level with three months still to go.

Event co-chairs Megan Biller and Dr. Emily Coles thank all who have stepped forward to support the event already. They emphasize that additional sponsorships are important to cover the basic costs of the Festival of Races and to ensure a strong infusion of funds to the Susan P Wheatlake Cancer and Wellness Fund. The fund underwrites a variety of wellness services, including education, transportation for treatments, massage and reflexology, and cosmetology services—all provided free for patients.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 180 ambulatory and service sites; 3,600 physicians and advanced practice providers, including 1,500 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan with 779,000 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 26,000 employees. The organization provided $372 million in community benefit during its 2017 fiscal year. Spectrum Health was named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems—and in the top five among the largest health systems—in 2017 by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM. This is the sixth time the organization has received this recognition.