Open Accessibility Menu

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Colon Cancer - Laurie

Published in For the Health of It Author: CentraCare

Laurie Gerchy was just 18 years old when her mother died from cancer at age 47.

Today, Laurie thanks God that a routine colonoscopy detected a mass that could have claimed her own life.

“I knew what it felt like to grow up without my mother,” Laurie said through tears. “I didn’t want my children to live through that experience. I just feel a huge relief and so blessed that it was caught early. I personally think we had a miracle here.”

Gastroenterologist Scot Hutton, MD, performed Laurie’s colonoscopy at CentraCare Digestive Center, shortly after the Sauk Rapids woman turned 50.

“As soon as I saw Dr. Hutton sitting next to me following my procedure, I knew something was up,” Laurie said. “He explained that he had found a mass larger than four centimeters. That was very scary.”

Laurie saw Interventional Gastroenterologist Mark Virtue, MD, just a few days later to have the mass checked and removed. She was impressed by both physicians.

“Dr. Hutton called me at night so that we could both sleep better. He informed me that my final blood work and biopsy were good,” Laurie said.“Dr. Hutton and Dr. Virtue went above and beyond. They called to check on me, were great with follow-up and kept me informed. I feel so thankful.”

Laurie described her colonoscopy as quick and painless. “Just finding a time on your calendar to schedule it is probably the worst part. They were so helpful and nice at the Digestive Center, offering me warm blankets and always making sure I was comfortable.”

Laurie advises others not to hesitate when considering a colonoscopy, especially those with a family history of cancer.“You just wake up and you’re all done. Just do it. I now know that my children have to receive preventive colonoscopies, and I’ll be proactive for them. Thank God we found this before it was cancer — I would be looking at something much more serious otherwise.”

Talk to your health care provider to determine if you need a colonoscopy.