Cancer, Community, Reed City Hospital

Wheatlake Wellness Path Almost a Reality

The Wheatlake Wellness Path alongside the Spectrum Health Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City will be completed in the fall of 2019.

June 5, 2019

REED CITY, Mich., June 4, 2019 – For patients and their families walking a cancer journey, the road can be long and difficult.

That’s why a quiet stroll through the soon-to-be constructed Wheatlake Wellness Path will offer a welcome respite as part of treatment.

The wellness path will be integrated alongside the Spectrum Health Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City.

“We’re so excited about this project,” said Jen Ames, manager of the cancer center. “Our center exists to treat the whole person – body, mind and spirit, and the wellness path will help us deliver even more on that mission,” she said. “The path will provide walking opportunities for patients, areas for reflection and relaxation, and will enhance programming in the wellness center,” she added.

The winding path will feature multiple benches, trees, a fountain, healing gardens, reflection spaces and picnic areas. The flat paved surface will be completely accessible for everyone.

“It’s going to be beautiful and will add such a wonderful touch to the center,” Susan Wheatlake said. “Families and patients will enjoy being outdoors and spending time resting and nourishing their spirit, which is vital when fighting this terrible disease,” she said. Wheatlake is a local cancer survivor and donor to the center that bears her name.

The $250,000 Wheatlake Wellness Path project is being funded entirely by charitable donations, and $86,000 in fundraising is needed to see the project to completion.

Response to the campaign has been very positive according to Shelly Westbrook, Spectrum Health Foundation Director of Northeast Region Hospitals including Big Rapids, Reed City, United Hospital in Greenville and Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview.

“We’re very blessed to have philanthropic dollars make so many things possible for our patients and their families,” Westbrook said. “We’re hoping to secure the remaining funds over the next two months, so we can finish the installation this fall,” she said.

Among the many generous donors, the Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital Auxiliary donated $50,000 to sponsor the picnic shelter along the path. “The hospital auxiliary continues to make a significant difference in the lives of our patients,” Westbrook said. “We appreciate their generosity and everyone who supports the hospital gift shop and their events,” she said.

Other naming opportunities for featured amenities along the path are still available.

Individuals or families can also buy a personalized brick to support the project or to honor a loved one affected by cancer. For a donation of $200, donors can buy a brick that will be showcased in one area along the path. Bricks can be purchased at the Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital gift shop, at the cancer center in Reed City, by calling the foundation office at 231.592.4367 or by going online to

Already 75 of the 250 available bricks have been purchased.

“We’ve all been touched by cancer and people have opened up their hearts for this project,” Westbrook said.

The Spectrum Health Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center opened in 2013 and provides comprehensive cancer treatment and care including chemotherapy and radiation. The center also provides non-oncology infusions for patients throughout the area.

Free services include massage therapy, acupuncture, acupressure along with providing wigs, hats and scarves in the boutique. A resources library is also available for patients and families.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides care and coverage, comprising 31,000+ team members, 14 hospitals (including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital), a robust network of care facilities, teams of nationally recognized doctors and providers, and the nation’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, Priority Health, currently serving over 1 million members across the state of Michigan. People are at the heart of everything we do. Locally governed and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we are focused on our mission: to improve health, inspire hope and save lives. Spectrum Health has a legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Through experience, innovation and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness.

John Norton
Communications Specialist
Office: 231.592.4387
Mobile: 231.580.1079