St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea receives $25,000 check to fight cancer

St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea has received a $25,000 check from Gary and Karin Klapperich, organizers of the 11th Annual “It’s A Great Day to Be Alive” fundraiser.  As in years past, funds raised from the event have been earmarked for cancer services offered at the hospital.

“Once again we express our appreciation to Gary, his family and others from our community that came together to support the fight against cancer,” said Nancy Graebner, president and CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.  “For those currently fighting cancer, know that you are not alone.  You have a committed medical team here at St. Joe’s.”

Since its inception more than a decade ago, the annual event has raised $255,000 to benefit the Cancer Center at St. Joe’s Chelsea. The 16,500 square foot cancer center enables local residents to receive a wide range of cancer treatments, from surgery to chemotherapy and radiation, all under one roof close to home.  As a member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea’s Cancer Center also provides access to regional resources including clinical research trials, genetic counseling, and CyberKnife® radiotherapy.

More than 12 years ago, Gary Klapperich, diagnosed with colon cancer, had successful cancer surgery at St. Joe’s Chelsea followed by chemotherapy at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.  It was during the long hours of infusion that Gary kept his spirits up with the Travis Tritt tune “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” and the name of the fundraiser was born.

When he learned that St. Joe’s Chelsea was raising funds to build an infusion center and then a full cancer center close to home, Gary Klapperich, along with his wife, Karin, made the decision to hold a fundraiser each year to benefit the new cancer center.

Working with members of the Ann Arbor Fraternal Order of Eagles #2154, this event has become one of the largest three-day rummage sales in the area.  Along with the rummage sale, the event includes silent and live auctions, raffles, bake sales, t-shirt and bracelet sales, 50/50 raffles, hair cutting for charity, and a myriad of other activities throughout the year, culminating in the event, held this year from August 16 and 17.

About St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea

St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea (SJMC) is a not-for-profit joint venture hospital, whose partners are Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, a member of national Catholic health care system Trinity Health based in Livonia, Mich., and Michigan Medicine, the academic medical center of the University of Michigan.  Founded in 1970, SJMC is nationally recognized for both quality of care and patient satisfaction by national ranking organization Press Ganey, and is accredited by the Joint Commission.  SJMC employs more than 1,200 individuals with a medical staff of approximately 600 physicians.  Key services include robust medical and surgical service lines, seven operating rooms, a 24-hour emergency department and senior emergency room, a state-of-the-art cancer center, a physical medicine and rehabilitation department, a comprehensive head pain treatment unit and behavioral health services.

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