Bassett Patients Benefit from Big Squeeze
| Bill Michaels (top) and the entrance to the Cider Mill
A recent event at the Fly Creek Cider Mill called The Big Squeeze yielded a lot of apple cider and also a much-needed donation for Bassett Healthcare Network's mobile cancer-screening coach. The coach travels throughout Bassett's eight-county service area to bring life-sustaining cancer-screening services to rural patients, many of whom would not otherwise have access to such services.
The Michaels dedicate one weekend in the fall to the event, always in peak cider season. All proceeds from the cider sold that weekend are donated to support the cancer-screening coach.
Bill and Brenda Michaels bought the Fly Creek Cider mill from Bill’s parents in 1999. They started the Big Squeeze because Brenda’s mother died of breast cancer and also because one of their staff members was suffering from the disease. Bill likes the humor in the event’s title: cider comes from pressing apples—or “squeezing” them—and as anyone who has had a mammogram knows, a bit of squeezing is involved in one of those as well.
The cider mill hosted Bassett’s first version of a mobile cancer-screening coach. As their business has grown, so have their donations to the cancer center and its mobile screening program.
Bill Michaels remembered when many rural patrons felt uncomfortable discussing cancer or mammograms. He liked combining the cancer awareness program with the Big Squeeze cider event because it helped to de-stigmatize cancer screening. Putting the mobile cancer screening coach into a family fun environment helped to educate people and also helped to raise awareness about the importance of getting tested.
Nearly 4,000 people over the course of the weekend walked though the cider mill and by the mobile screening coach.
This year’s Big Squeeze is over for the cider mill, although there is still plenty of cider available, and you can still support the work of Bassett’s mobile cancer-screening coach, which travels our rural roads year round. To make a gift, call the Friends of Bassett at (607) 547-3928. You can also make a donation online.