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Survivor leading the charge against colon, rectal and anal cancer

Anal cancer

Right before her 47th birthday, Michele Longabaugh, a Wichita wife, mother and registered nurse, received some devastating news. The blood on her toilet paper wasn’t from the hemorrhoids she had dealt with for years, and her back pain wasn’t because of her ongoing bout with sciatica.

Michele had stage 4 anal cancer that had metastasized to the base of her spine, even though she didn’t have any of the common risk factors for the disease: being HIV- or HPV-positive, a woman over age 65, or a smoker.

Motivational speaker rides on despite amputations


Every day is sunny in Steve Martinez’ world.  And he says the serious health crisis he endured four years ago only confirmed how blessed he is.

The self-described “Hispanic macho man” had a busy career as a manager for Dillon Food Stores in Wichita. When he wasn’t working, he enjoyed lifting weights, playing softball and riding horses on his ranch just outside of Harper, about an hour southwest of Wichita.

Then everything changed.

Musician grateful for renewed health after hyperbaric therapy

Hyperbaric therapy

Lori Hoppock has a passion for all things music. From singing, teaching elementary school music and piano lessons, to playing keyboard in her church praise band and writing and recording an original Christmas album with her husband and three children, she enjoys sharing her passion with others.

But seven years ago, Lori embarked on a health challenge journey that temporarily silenced her music. It has been a difficult road with many detours, including a stop at Ascension Via Christi Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Therapy where she received some restorative healing.

New computerized technology at Via Christi Rehab helping occupational therapy patients

Ascension Via Christi Rehabilitation Hospital recently acquired ArmeoSpring, a high-tech system designed to help patients who have difficulty moving their arms.
It is the only hospital in Kansas outside the Kansas City metro area and one of the few in the Midwest to invest in the new technology designed to help patients regain active movement of their arm and hand.

Implantable defibrillator offers 'insurance policy' for father's heart

Implantable defibrillator

One afternoon last fall, Mario Williams took a short walk down his block. He was exhausted by the effort and his muscles burned; he couldn’t breathe.

Just a few days later, two days before his 40th birthday, his fiancee, Angela See asked him to go to work with her in the morning. She had been concerned about his health and the symptoms he’d been having. Instead of going to her office, however, Angela drove Mario straight to the Emergency Room entrance at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis.

Study to test weight loss program for female colorectal cancer survivors

The Wichita Community Clinical Oncology Program is one of a small number of medical centers nationwide conducting a National Cancer Institute-funded research study offering nutrition counseling and free membership to a weight loss facility to help women who have had colon or rectal cancer reach a healthy body weight in one year.

Via Christi HOPE to expand senior care model to 24 Kansas counties

Via Christi HOPE, which provides community-based services and care to the elderly as an alternative to traditional Medicare and Medicaid services, will expand its service area from one to 24 Kansas counties.

Via Christi HOPE, which has been providing services in Sedgwick County since 2002, was the first program of all-inclusive care for the elderly, or PACE organization in Kansas. The 23 additional counties Via Christi was awarded cover the southeast portion of the state and extend as far north as Johnson County.

Mom continues to enjoy an active life after skin cancer diagnosis

Skin cancer patient Marsha Epperson

Since being diagnosed with skin cancer nearly two years ago, Marsha Epperson has gone through a series of biopsies and life-saving treatments.

It’s the second time the 56-year-old mother of three has been treated for skin cancer, but the diagnosis still came as a shock.

“I was always outside, either playing sports like tennis and softball or at the lake, but I never was a ‘sun tanner,’” says Marsha. “So I never thought I would get diagnosed with skin cancer once, let alone twice.”     

Injured skydiver finds encouragement at Via Christi Rehabilitation Hospital

Rehabilitation patient Dan Watts

The jump started like all the rest.

Dan Watts stepped out of the plane with two friends, met up briefly with them in midair to grasp hands, then separated from them to pull his parachute ripcord.

Only this time, unlike his previous 173 skydiving jumps, he couldn’t get his main chute to open. As he continued to free fall, he eventually got his emergency chute to open just 900 feet off the ground – far lower than normal.


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