For several years now, two unique groups of Mercy Health patients and their families have been treated to a special, invitation-only event hosted by Mercy Health. Both events have marked the achievement of healthy goals that have transformed the lives of these patients and their families.
On Friday, August 9, 2019, former Mercy Health bariatric patients and their families gathered at the Muskegon SportsPlex to celebrate their success. The event is called DUNEiversity, where patients participate in outdoor physical activities that were not possible prior to their bariatric surgery.
Hosted by Bariatric Surgeon Brian Gluck, DO, participants went on guided nature hikes, enjoyed paddle sports and yard game Olympics, and even had the opportunity to experience the thrill of the wheel luge. DUNEiversity celebrates how far formerly obese patients have come in their bariatric journeys.
The ultimate goal of a successful weight loss surgery is to live better, healthier and longer. This year’s participants in DUNEiversity have “graduated” to a healthier life due to their ongoing commitment to making healthy choices.
Four days later on August 13, 2019, hundreds of children and their parents gathered for the annual Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Reunion. This year’s event was held on Post Family Farms in Hudsonville.
Nearly 200 “grads,” or children who have been cared for in the NICU at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, accompanied by their parents and NICU staff, attended the celebration. Mercy Health’s NICU cares for 200–300 children each year.
The NICU Reunion celebrates former NICU patients’ lives and accomplishments. Often having arrived into this world too soon or with complications, these NICU grads and their parents are proud to show off how far they have come since their care as the smallest patients of Mercy Health.
Some participants were transported from regional hospitals to the 15-bed, Level II NICU at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s by the Mercy Health NICU Transport Unit, which is a fully equipped specialty ambulance.
Despite their rough start in life, these resilient children have continued to thrive, thanks to outstanding health care and love from family and friends.
Mercy Health’s mission is to serve as a transforming, healing presence in our communities. Our patients aren’t a number or statistic. That is true whether our patients are directly in our care or have “graduated” and are continuing to live their lives. We deeply care about our patients and are here for them every step on their individual journeys toward living remarkably healthy lives.