posted September 29, 2010

Men’s Soccer to Host Purple Game for Cancer Research at Van Andel Institute

On Tuesday, October 12, the Hope College Men's Soccer Team will host a Community for a Cure Purple Game in support of cancer research at Van Andel Institute (VAI). The game, against rival Olivet, begins at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.

Since April 2009, high schools, colleges, and communities throughout the state have raised more than $150,000 for cancer research at Van Andel Institute through Community for a Cure Purple Games.

Hope College has been a huge supporter; last year Hope College football, women's soccer, and volleyball Teams raised $12,500 for the initiative.

Hope players will wear purple jerseys during the game, and there will be purple T-shirts, wristbands, water bottles, reusable grocery bags, and cotton candy for sale. Attendees also will have an opportunity to participate in a chilidog eating contest, hosted by WLAV Radio Personality Kevin Mathews. Organizers will attempt to break the world record for the number of chilidogs eaten at a soccer game. For this event, hotdogs have been donated by Vienna Beef, buns donated by Sara Lee, and chili donated by The Dog Pit in Grand Rapids.

"Not only will Hope College's Purple Game benefit the cancer research we do here, it will also support an internship for a Hope student to have the hands on learning opportunity to conduct research at VAI next summer ," said VAI Vice President of Communications and External Relations Joseph Gavan. "The level of support and commitment we have received from Hope students, staff, and faculty has been truly inspiring."

Cancer is a terrifying and deadly disease. In 2010, it is estimated that 1.5 million Americans will be diagnosed of cancer (this excludes basal and squamous cell skin cancer and in situ carcinomas except urinary bladder), and 569,480 will die from it. Despite the significant progress made in fighting the disease since the U.S. Congress declared war on cancer in 1971, there is a lot more work that must be done by the scientific and medical communities in order for us to have a chance at ultimately
controlling, managing, and curing cancer.

Hope College is contributing to such a cancer research effort through work aimed at developing novel cancer-fighting drugs. Other projects at Hope are focused on
understanding the fundamental, biological, and biochemical basis of cancer formation, maintenance, metastasis, as well as at looking at the opposite by causing cancer cells to die or undergo a process called apoptosis.

Support for student-faculty collaborative cancer research at Hope, in the form of
applied and basic science research, typically comes from competitive external sources such as the NIH, NSF, and pharmaceutical companies. In addition, cancer research at Hope is supported internally, and recently funding was designated from cancer awareness events organized by the college's athletic program. These funds will be applied toward purchasing supplies and consummables, supplementing travel by students to a professional conference, and partially paying students to work in
the research laboratories.

Through VAI's Community for a Cure initiative, schools and communities come together at sporting events to celebrate hope and raise funds to help fight cancer. Schools all over Michigan have hosted or participated in Community for a Cure Purple Games, which have raised more than $150,000 for cancer research. Community for a Cure has grown to include non-sporting events as well; Road Rodz Car Club hosted a car show event August 27 to support cancer research in honor of Christine Goedhart, a club member who died of breast cancer in 2008.

Those interested in hosting their own Community for a Cure game can contact Sara Hop at 616-234-5598 or sara.hop@vai.org.

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About Van Andel Institute
Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. VARI, the research arm of VAI, is dedicated to probing the genetic, cellular and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson and other diseases and working to translate those findings into effective therapies. This is accomplished through the work of over 200 researchers in 18 on-site laboratories and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. VARI is affiliated with the Translational Genomics Research Institute, (TGen), of Phoenix, Arizona.