Purple Community Blog

28 Oct 2016

Bees, Wines & Wigs – Oh My!

Breast Cancer awareness month has proven to be one of the busiest months yet for Purple Community! We have supported over 20 fundraising activities this month alone, and many of them focused on raising funds to support breast cancer research at Van Andel Institute, right here in Grand Rapids.

It has been an honor for the Purple Community team to serve alongside so many incredible groups and organizations, helping us to bring hope to those on the journey, and honoring and remembering those that have died from this devastating disease. One such group is Bee Brave. The women and men that support this incredible movement have continuously inspired us over the past year with their tremendous dedication to Van Andel Institute’s mission and to finding new treatments and possibly, one day, a cure for breast cancer.

Through several events, this group of incredible people have taken a proactive step in the fight against breast cancer and have raised nearly $60,000 through a Chili Cook Off, Beer & Wine Tasting, Golf Outing, 5K, Bunco Bash and more!


All of their hard work culminated with their Bee Brave 5K Run and Walk, which took place on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. At the race they honored women who are currently living with cancer and remembered those that have lost their battle.

Tammy Myers, who spoke at the Bee Brave 5K, is the definition of a fighter and advocate. She not only spoke at the 5K, but she also shared her story at the West Michigan Woman Wine & Wig event on Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM).

Her message of strength and embracing your body through the journey of breast cancer left the audience speechless. Tammy serves as a true reminder of the importance of advocating for your own health and not waiting until 50 years of age for breast exams. Learn more about her amazing story by visiting www.forgottenfighters.org.

On a personal level, my own aunt Sharon Naughton, who is a 21-year breast cancer survivor, was able to join us for the evening’s festivities and celebrated her survivorship with many other survivors at the GRAM that night. For the first time in 21 years, I saw my aunt cry about her journey, and release the emotions she has held so tightly over the years as she has tried to remain strong. That moment is one that will stay with me for a lifetime.


To learn more about the impact your fundraising efforts have on the research happening at the Institute, join us for our upcoming event “A Conversation About Women’s Health Hosted by Carol Van Andel” on Thursday, Nov. 16. Details can be found here: vai.org/event/convo-about-womens-health

This month and EVERY month we honor and remember anyone that has been on a cancer or Parkinson’s disease journey of any kind. We are here for you and we will continue to fight for you.

Stay Strong and Bee Brave,
Ashley – Purple Community Team Member