Purple Community Blog

18 May 2018

West Ottawa Purple Power: The most powerful year yet!

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West Ottawa Public Schools has successfully finished their 6th year of fundraising for cancer research through Purple Power, bringing in over $36,600 this year — their best year yet!

Purple Power has collectively raised over $150,000 dollars for Van Andel Institute (VAI) since 2013 through a collaborative district-wide effort. On April 19, West Ottawa Purple power was awarded the
Carol Van Andel Angel of Excellence Award in honor of their success in fundraising and commitment to VAI.

We are excited to highlight some key members involved with the logistics and execution of Purple Power and hear why they wholeheartedly pour themselves into this event.

LeeAnne Archer, an original Purple Power committee member, reflects on how the committee got its start. “I was one of the original four who dreamed up West Ottawa Purple Power after a teacher at the high school decided Pink Out was too much work and was no longer going to do it. Each of our original committee members have all been affected by cancer in many different ways. Unfortunately, my husband passed away at 52 years old of cancer when my twin daughters were senior basketball players at West Ottawa four years ago. The support we received from the West Ottawa community, staff and coaching staff was amazing. I wanted to give back somehow and channel my energy for something positive — raising money for cancer research,” Archer said.

“The number one thing I look forward to each year is when the players are introduced and the person they are playing for [names on jerseys] are announced and the players run into the stands to give hugs of support,” Archer said. “That makes all of the hard work instantly worth it! I also love to see the huge crowds who come out to our basketball games, especially the student section all wearing purple.”


Diane Colvin an original committee member of Purple Power and teacher at Great Lakes Elementary has been impacted by cancer in numerous ways as well — Diane’s mother lost her battle with cancer in 2011. “To me the most meaningful part of Purple Power is the people we are honoring at the basketball game. I love reading the stories of the cancer survivors. It is my hope that with the money we raise to support cancer research at Van Andel Institute, I will be able to read many more stories of cancer survivors,” Colvin said.

“I am so proud of the employees from Intex Technologies that raised $815 selling tickets for our $99 raffle, which is almost more than double the amount we have ever raised,” Colvin said. “Plus, the cheerleaders who collected $604 during the Miracle Minute of the boys’ basketball game, almost $200 higher than any of our previous Miracle Minutes.”

Two students from West Ottawa High School took the lead in planning Purple Power’s final event, women’s soccer, inspiring the younger student body to become involved in future years. One of the senior leaders on the team, Britney Inthavong, motivated the team to fight cancer head-on. Britney said, “As a team we all know someone who has suffered from cancer and we all just want to help find a cure so no one has to suffer again.” The soccer team, with the help of their many sponsors, raised a total of $5,352!

We are so grateful for the powerhouse people behind Purple Power at West Ottawa!