No one fights alone.
That’s the slogan for this year’s Purple Week at Otsego High School.
Taking place from Monday, Sept. 26, to Friday, Sept. 30, Purple Week will raise awareness and money for the Van Andel Institute in the ongoing battle against cancer and Parkinson’s Disease.
Otsego Public Schools communications director Holly McCaw act as the coordinator of Purple Week.
“This year’s slogan is really special,” McCaw said. “It truly shows the spirit of this week: that we can all come together to help fight cancer and Parkinson’s and support each other in the fight.”
Purple Week started as a single football game in 2010 to raise money for cancer research. Leaders at OHS decided to make the event a biannual one and added an outdoor volleyball game along with a football game in 2012.
Given the success of those games, the decision was made to host a weeklong event, with any of the school’s athletic teams that wanted to go purple during that week invited to do so.
“The school and community really rallied around these games and the cause and others wanted to get involved,” McCaw said. “So, we expanded.”
To date, the OPS and the community have raised more than $115,000 for the cause.
All money raised throughout the week stays in West Michigan, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to Van Andel Institute’s continuing research.
“Every dollar donated makes a direct difference,” McCaw said. “Cancer and Parkinson’s impact so many of us in some way. That’s what makes (Purple Week) such a great way for our community to come together and provide hope for treatments in the future.”
This year’s purple athletic events are:
- Tues., Sept. 20—Varsity volleyball vs. Mattawan at 6 p.m.
- Tues., Sept. 20—Girls Swim & Dive vs. Plainwell at 6 p.m.
- Tues., Sept. 27—Varsity tennis vs. Kalamazoo Central at 4 p.m.
- Wed., Sept. 28—Varsity boys soccer vs. Plainwell at 6:30 p.m.
- Friday., Sept. 30—Varsity football vs. Gull Lake at 7 p.m.
Cheerleaders and band members will also go purple during the football game. A carnival will take place prior to the football game, followed by a short ceremony before kickoff.
To raise money for the event, the district currently has Purple Week t-shirts and sweatshirts available for purchase at https://otsegopsorg.finalsite.com/forms/~form-uuid/900a308d-ee37-4023-9cf9-6535bb4aaa78. The deadline to order is September 12th.
Community members can also sponsor the jersey of an Otsego athlete.
“Not all of our athletes choose to sponsor their own (jersey), so someone in the community can sponsor that jersey, choose the name on the back and see their loved one honored during that contest,” McCaw said. “That person will then get the jersey after the game.”
Those wishing to make a donation in support of Purple Week can do so at https://give.vai.org/page/43692/donate/1. Donation bins will also be available at the various athletic events.
“If any business or organization wants to go purple with us and do a small fundraiser or awareness event at their work, we’d love to see people get involved and help the cause in their own way,” McCaw said.
Businesses wishing to get more information about this can contact McCaw at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the special jerseys worn by OHS athletes, light-post banners that were purchased to honor loved ones will be displayed in downtown Otsego beginning Monday, Sept. 26.
“As the coordinator, I am always touched by the stories I hear from people who are donating, purchasing a banner or sponsoring a jersey,” McCaw said. “They share how special their loved one was to them and how passionate they are to help in this cause.
“Every jersey and banner has a story of a special person in someone’s life touched by one of these diseases and that brings the cause into perspective.”