Purple Community Blog

30 May 2018

Honoring our Purple Community Angel — Cheryl Wirsing

Cheryl Wirsing was seeking a way to give back when she came aboard the Purple Community 5K planning committee in 2014. She and her husband have called Grand Rapids home for nearly 30 years, and she claims the spirit of volunteerism in the community is contagious.

“Volunteering has provided not only a way to feel helpful, but to learn new skills, take on new responsibilities and, most importantly, meet other enthusiastic volunteers with a shared commitment. Seeing the progress being made in research, funded in part by Purple Community activities, is what keeps me involved,” Cheryl said. “I lost both my parents to cancer and I have a dear friend who is living with multiple system atrophy, a disease currently being researched at Van Andel Institute [VAI]. I am convinced that disease management opportunities, and eventually cures, will be discovered right here in Grand Rapids at VAI and that provides motivation for my continued involvement.”

Cheryl Wirsing & Bethany Polynice

Cheryl has served as a wonderful ambassador for VAI the last several years and now is a leader within Purple Community’s developing volunteer program. In addition to always being willing to step in to help our team with event preparation and execution, Cheryl is a strong asset to the volunteer subcommittee and events subcommittee as part of the Purple Community Cabinet.

We asked Cheryl to share her favorite memory or experience as a Purple Community volunteer. “I can’t say there is one memory that stands out. Mostly, it’s the people … being with a group of enthusiastic volunteers, working together to make a difference in the lives of others,” Cheryl said. “Seeing adults and kids participating in the Purple Community 5K, watching elementary and middle students raise funds for Purple Community, participating as a volunteer at the Bee Brave 5K … all of these people, participants and volunteers, are committed to a common goal to find a cure for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Their enthusiasm and passion is amazing and contagious!”

You said it, Cheryl! We are lucky to have you as an advocate for Purple Community and VAI. Thank you for all that you do!