Just as our students were planning the fall 2020 Purple Week, COVID hit and school and events shut down. But as restrictions began to lift this winter and spring, the OHS Purple Committee sprang into action and did what they do best - find the good in our situation and reimagine a way to continue to help. Students noted that the pandemic didn’t pause cancer or the need for research and treatment, so these students wanted to do whatever they could. “It was something everyone could relate to and had a personal story or fight against,” says junior Ali Janke of her classmates on the committee.
The Purple Weeks at Otsego are fundraisers for cancer research at Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, a global leader in medical research; this year, that fundraising is expanding to also support Parkinson’s research. Purple Week will include a spirit week at school, spring sports teams going purple with special jerseys to honor loved ones and a brand new feature, a 5K Color Run/Walk focused on fun and family! Purple Week is May 17-21 and the 5K event is on Saturday, May 22. You can register starting now until May 15, 2021.
The need to raise money is being balanced out this year with the recognition that the pandemic has also been hard financially on local businesses and families who regularly support our causes. This year, the kids set a goal of raising awareness and getting more people involved, knowing that people will give what they can and any little bit helps. This year’s event is more about community.
The committee is currently seeking sponsorships. Instead of the traditional donation menu, they are accepting business and organization sponsorships to get involved however it works best for them, be it special days at work, a donation, a portion of proceeds, etc. Anyone interested can check out the details in this letter. Sponsorships are accepted now until April 30th.
“I see the event as a great opportunity to lift spirits, raise awareness and bring a sense of normalcy back to our community,” says senior Ashley Goodrich. “Through COVID, many things have been taken away, but I knew we could find a way to make this event possible. For as long as I can remember, purple events and games in our community have been extremely fun and exciting to be able to directly support the fight against cancer.”
Purple Weeks in the past have raised anywhere from $10,000 to $28,000 per event; Otsego has held five of them and surpassed $100,000 in total giving after their 2018 fall event. Students have been visiting Van Andel Institute for years for their annual purple community events geared toward schools. Their passion for helping others was put on pause, so they’re happy to be able to move forward. “We also thought it was a great year to do Purple Week because fundraising has probably been difficult during the pandemic, so they need as much support as they can get,” Ali adds.
The students have organized an entirely new Purple Week since it will happen in the spring and there are COVID restrictions to honor. The week will culminate with a fun 5K Color Run/Walk event around the OPS campus. You can register starting now until May 15, 2021. The cost is just $25 and each participant will receive a shirt, purple sunglasses and a purple mask! We are planning a 5K focused on fun not fast times. We hope to see families and community members join our students for this event! Weekly details below.
Purple Week will be held May 17-22 and include:
- Spirit Week! OHS will hold a spirit week with dress-up days and lunch events. The dress-up days will each be a color that represents a different type of cancer. They’ll share information each day to help inform students.
- Sharing stories! Students will create a platform for classmates and the community to share stories of their loved ones in the fight against cancer and who they fight for in this effort.
- Spring sports going purple! Most of our spring sports teams will go purple for their home games during Purple Week. They’ll wear special jerseys with a name on the back of someone they would like to honor.
- The big event! The week culminates with the big event - a 5K Family Fun Color Run/Walk event! Participants will be showered in purple as they start the route that will be around the main OPS campus buildings. Committee members are planning fun activities at water stops throughout the route. The 5K registration includes a t-shirt, purple mask and purple sunglasses. It’s just $25 per person. There will also be a separate merchandise order form for shirts, sweatshirts and other accessories.
- Games and more! The 5K event will be open one hour prior to start and stay open an hour after for families and kids to take part in different activities and games.
Any businesses or organizations who would like to be a sponsor can check out the informational letter and donation form here: https://tinyurl.com/purpleweeksponsor