Purple Community Blog

24 Oct 2017

Bee Brave Buzzes into its 10th Year!

October 7 may have been another lazy Saturday for some people, but not for Bee Brave! Passionate runners and walkers got up early to participate in the 10th Annual Bee Brave 5K in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Bee Brave is a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about raising breast cancer awareness, supporting fighters, and honoring those whose battle has ended. Bee Brave has become a haven of hope for those who need it, a home to share their courageous stories, as well as a place to celebrate the victories and triumphs that many have had, and continue to have, over breast cancer.

What makes Bee Brave unique is that every event is completely organized by volunteers and supported by local business sponsors who are dedicated to finding a cure. One hundred percent of the money raised throughout the year at Bee Brave events stays in Grand Rapids, MI and goes directly to breast cancer research at Van Andel Institute.

The “bee in Bee Brave symbolizes community, brightness, and personal power which is exactly what this group brings. “The body of the bumblebee is so heavy that the frail little wings shouldn’t be able to support it and it certainly shouldn’t be able to fly, but nobody told the bumblebee that and it flies anyway,” said Pat Ringnalda, Bee Brave founder. “Women who are battling this disease are fighting and have to be brave. So with that in mind, I just thought, well, “Bee Brave.”

Before the start of the 5K, Bee Brave celebrates their Featured Fighters, along with the other survivors that participate in the race. You can hear their stories by clicking here.


This year Bee Brave had a new location in Caledonia — Shagbark Farms. The family owned and operated cattle farm has been around for over 50 years, hosting beef and pig roasts, hunting weekends, wedding receptions, and now the Bee Brave 5K! “We appreciate Farmer John for letting us use his property,” said Barb Hoogerhyde Griffin Hayes. Runners were able to have a fresh change of scenery with both paved and gravel roads in the stunning fall countryside. And not only did Farmer John host the event, but showed his extraordinary support by dying his beard PINK!

Through the 5K and other fundraising events, we are thrilled to share that Bee Brave raised over $60,000 to support breast cancer research at Van Andel Institute! We are beyond grateful for this incredible partnership and look forward to buzzing along with them for years to come!