Purple Community Blog

5 Dec 2018

Honoring Debbie Wittenbach and joining the fight against non-small cell lung cancer

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Cancer touches all of us – it does not discriminate. A common quote we usually hear associated with this terrible disease is that “everyone knows someone” who has been affected by cancer. We as a family have been personally affected by cancer in losing our amazing wife and mother, Debbie Wittenbach, three years ago this November.

Debbie was originally diagnosed in October of 2010 with non-small cell lung cancer. She fought an incredible fight, was referred to as a “miracle” by her doctors and specialists, and truly lived each day that she was given to the fullest.

Despite her tough battle, she never lost her positive attitude, her heart for serving others, or her infectious smile and spunk. Debbie always kept her faith and her hope for a cure at the forefront of her fight, and inspired others along the way to do the same. Debbie’s battle with cancer ended when she passed away on November 29th, 2015.

For those of us she left behind, our world was turned completely upside down after losing her. However, we are aware that we are not nearly the only family who has lost a loved one far too soon because of this devastating illness – and for this reason and many others, we want to continue the fight against non-small cell lung cancer on Debbie’s behalf.

This holiday season we are asking, in honor of Debbie, for you to join us in the fight against non-small cell lung cancer. If you are considering a charitable gift this Christmas, please consider this fundraising effort for the Van Andel Institute. For our family and so many others, VAI is a place filled with HOPE for a cure. It is because of the research being done at VAI that we can hold on to hope for a future without cancer. It starts by joining forces and working together toward this incredibly worthy cause.

Our family truly believes in the power of giving HOPE this holiday season. Hope to individuals living with cancer. Hope to families supporting a loved one fighting. Hope to those that have experienced the loss of a loved one due to this devastating disease.

Join us in giving HOPE by making a gift, however big or small, to support non-small cell lung cancer research at Van Andel Institute. As an extra incentive to give, our family is going to MATCH every gift, dollar for dollar, up to $2,500. Help our family bring hope to other families all over the world that have been impacted by cancer.

Donate Now

Our family does not know where we would be without the incredible support of our family and friends who have rallied around us during our toughest days. We are so blessed to be a part of an incredibly generous community that lends a hand where it is needed, and loves and supports one another so well.

We are eternally grateful for the love and support we have been shown. You all have truly rallied around us, and now we are asking you to rally together once again. Thank you in advance for your generosity and your donations to Van Andel Institute for non-small cell lung cancer. Every single bit helps – and continues to give us HOPE for a cure.

Have a blessed holiday season.


The Wittenbach Family

Steve, Stephen & Allie