Munson’s Cowell Family Cancer Center Open and Phasing in Volunteers

There is now another option for people fighting cancer in Northern Michigan.

Munson Medical Center broke ground on the Cowell Family Cancer Center in Traverse City in 2014.

It is now open to patients. 

Cancer itself is scary — the treatments are scary… But Munson’s new center has a goal.

To bring in volunteers that will help calm even the worst nerves.    

“It’s a scary thing. And many of them are coming multiple times a week. Some of them are brand new. But none of it is stress-less. It’s all stressful,” said Volunteer Services Manager Theresa Stachnik.

Stress is inevitable for someone with a cancer diagnosis.

But that’s not healthy — and can hinder a patient’s recovery.

Volunteers here will make the overall process easier.

“A lot of it is, the only thing I can think of is just giving customer service with compassion.”

Volunteers will be the first face that cancer patients see. Right when they walk in the door, they’ll be sitting at the desk ready to welcome people.

“Volunteers are going to do personal assistance and way-finding throughout the facility. Helping people get to where they need to be. Being a welcoming face, a comfort.”

A comfort to the nearly 1,800 cancer patients who will use this facility in a year.

A place that offers everything they need under one roof.

“We didn’t have a dedicated social worker before, no dedicated dietician, and then we were also not able to provide in the cancer care realm integrative therapies such as massage and acupuncture and yoga classes,” said Munson’s Clinical Director of Oncology Christa Kiessel.

On any given day, there could be 80 to 90 patients heading to the infusion clinic.

That amount and more could be going to radiation oncology.

And volunteers will be a guiding hand every step of the way.

“Any little thing we can do to lighten their load, show them where to go, take their coat, push them to a different floor is all a plus, Stachnik said. 

If you are interested in volunteering, contact 231-935-5129. Due to the high number of applicants, you will get a letter confirming receipt of your interest that will contain instructions for next steps.