The Otsego community came together in a big way, once again, to help raise thousands of dollars for cancer and Parkinson’s research at Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids.
Otsego was a sea of purple at the final event of Purple Week 2022 - the Friday night football game. The night began with a kids carnival, drawing in hundreds of kids and their families to enjoy carnival games, inflatables and fun prizes. All of the games and activities were donated, so this carnival was a huge asset to our overall donation.
Prior to the start of the game, Otsego staff members, who are also cancer survivors, served as the event honorees and Mary Grile, the OHS Student Success Coordinator, spoke and shared her cancer journey and the important work taking place in medical research to help cancer patients like her. Grile was first diagnosed with cancer at age 34. For almost 10 years, her cancer was in remission but then returned as Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. She said her fight was now a marathon, not a sprint. "The goal being that I am healthy enough for every new drug on the market to hopefully extend my fight with cancer.
"Most cancer patients, like me, are in the fight of their life holding onto hope for the next/new medical breakthrough that the research from the Van Andel Institute provides. Continued research, new meds and drug trials is what gives me hope and and more time with my family."
The OHS Choir sang the national anthem and those in attendance were encouraged to fill out a purple paper to share who the fight for in this effort. It was a powerful moment to see all the signs raised at one time; a visual of the community coming together for something that affects so many of us.
Led by the OHS Purple Committee, a variety of events and activities had all of Otsego trading in the traditional blue and gold for purple for the cause for 10 days prior. There were so many different ways people could get involved this year and we had all age groups taking part in some way. Along with the carnival and purple game donations, this year’s Purple Week included:
Give for Good - an elementary school fundraiser where the class that raised the most money at each school got a donut party! This effort raised almost $3,000 alone!
OMS Student Council Lunchtime games - OMS students could pay $1 to play a game at lunchtime. They had several games and fun prizes. They also hosted a hat day where students who donated $1 to the cause could wear a hat for the day. OMS raised $915!
Downtown banners - Community members purchased custom banners that honored loved ones who have been impacted by cancer or Parkinson’s. Each banner featured their photo and name and were displayed downtown for several weeks.
Purple Apparel - Our crowd was decked out in purple at each of the purple games this fall! Our committee sold almost 1,000 purple shirts!
Commemorative Jerseys - Our athletes wore special purple jerseys during their home games for purple week. Each jersey was sponsored by the player or a community member who could put the name of a loved one on the back of the jersey to honor them during their contests.
The high school committee kicked off Purple Week with a special assembly to share important information about the cause which got more students involved in the week. The committee scheduled fun dress-up days which got a lot of participation and sold purple items like beads and bracelets at lunch.
The total amount raised is not yet final, but early numbers indicate that the 2022 Purple Week raised about $23,000! That would be the second highest of Otsego’s seven events. The first event was in 2010 and raised just under $10,000. To date, including this year, Otsego Public Schools has donated approximately $140,000 for medical research at Van Andel Institute. The next purple week will be held in 2024.
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Otsego is proud to announce the nomination window is now open for the 2024 Outstanding People for Education Awards, sponsored by the Allegan County School Boards Association.
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Our Otsego Virtual Academy team is looking to expand our services to help bridge the gap between students and community resources.