Every year on the first Sunday in June, people around the world come together to recognize National Cancer Survivors Day — “a CELEBRATION for those who have survived, an INSPIRATION for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of SUPPORT for families, and an OUTREACH to the community.” As 2018 marks the day’s 31st anniversary, Purple Community is proud to stand by those who have fought, survived and are currently fighting cancer.
Purple Community is Van Andel Institute’s (VAI) grassroots community awareness and fundraising program that connects individuals, schools, teams and businesses to the resources needed to join the fight against cancer. For some members of our team, the drive to fund cancer research is personal.
Daryl Mick, a Purple Community volunteer and prostate cancer survivor, has shared his story with us and it truly embodies the spirit of what it means to be part of Purple Community.
In 2009, Daryl was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a visit to his doctor regarding kidney stones. “One of the doctors from the office said that seven of the 12 samples were cancerous. After getting my emotions back in check, I scheduled an appointment to see what my options were,” Daryl said. “My wife and I went to the appointment together. We were given several options, but we already knew what we wanted to do. We chose to have the prostate removed. The surgery went very well, but the after affects were quite challenging.”
Daryl contributes some of his journey in becoming a survivor to his wife Mary — who was by his side at doctor visits and surgery — and explained that although the recovery process was not easy, he was able to connect with nonprofit organizations who focus their efforts on the fight against cancer. Daryl and Mary began volunteering for Purple Community after being introduced to the organization through their friend Sally Schaafsma our Purple Community Cabinet volunteer chair.
“I actually knew very little about Purple Community. I was thrilled to join when I was told 100 percent of money raised stays in Grand Rapids and goes to cancer research at VAI,” Daryl said. “It has been an awesome experience to be a part of this community where everyone is working for the same result, finding a cure for cancer.”
Volunteers like Daryl are the foundation of Purple Community. His passion for the program and finding a cure is a driving force. “I urge anyone who has had cancer, or has a family member or friend fighting, to join this program. It is such a rewarding experience,” Daryl said.
This National Cancer Survivor Day, Purple Community celebrates and honors those living with cancer and those who have survived, and know that we are here for you every step of the way.