On Tuesday, June 4, Purple Community hosted its annual Purple Game with the West Michigan Whitecaps. It was a night full of hope, hot dogs and baseball! Turning Fifth Third Ballpark purple is one of our favorite nights of the year, and 2019 did not disappoint.
We kicked off the evening with the first pitch thrown by 7-year-old Emerson Hoogendoorn from the West Ottawa School System in Holland. Known as “Emerson the Brave,” she has been undergoing radiation and chemotherapy following her diagnosis last year of a rare form of brain cancer.
Emerson’s nickname is fitting — she is strong, resilient and brave. She got out on the pitcher’s mound and threw an amazing first pitch, bringing HOPE to everyone in the ballpark!
“It was very empowering and meaningful to be down on the field with Emerson,” said Ami Hoogendoorn, Emerson’s mom. “As her parent, it fills you with hope and love seeing all the people in the stands cheering, not only for your kid’s pitch, but most importantly, cheering her on and honoring her in her cancer journey. Emerson’s tumor is rare, and she is still here because of the support scientists and doctors receive toward cancer research. She is living proof of the power of science and the incredible things it can do. We hold hope that the research will find a cure for our girl.”
Purple Community led the 50/50 raffle and was able to raise more than $1,200. Half of that went to the lucky winner from the night, with the other half going toward cancer and Parkinson’s disease research at Van Andel Institute.
Our annual Purple Community Whitecaps game helps spread awareness for Van Andel Institute and 100% HOPE to everyone in attendance. We are already looking forward to another great year with the Whitecaps so we can continue to spread 100% HOPE through America’s favorite pastime.