April 21, 2017
BENEFITING: VAN ANDEL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
EVENT DATE: Oct 08, 2017
Thank you for visiting my Crowdrise page and for considering supporting me in my efforts to fundraise for Van Andel Institute! I decided to sign up for a marathon (which is 26.2 miles, FYI) to join the ranks of people I’ve always labeled as “crazy” for putting themselves through that physical trauma! Why would I do such a thing, you may ask? Because of love and grief and passion. Maybe those sound like separate things to you but let me explain:
LOVE: My brother-in-law Eric passed away in late May of 2016 from Osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. I say “brother-in-law” because, technically speaking, that’s what he was, but I loved him and thought of him as my brother, period. At the beginning of Eric’s treatment, he donated a portion of his tumor to Van Andel Institute (VAI) in hopes that they could use his cancer cells to further the research that was being done on Osteosarcoma.
GRIEF: To quote a friend who also lost a brother this past year, “turning pain into purpose doesn’t make the loss any easier, but it makes moving forward more hopeful.” That’s why I’m partnering with Team Hope / Purple Community. Doing something in Eric’s honor and to further research on his behalf seems to help in the grieving process. Channeling my love for him into a passion for a cause is an opportunity I’m grateful to have.
PASSION: Getting involved with VAI was a natural step for our family and friends to take after Eric passed away. Part of his tumor is there, continuing the fight against cancer by aiding the VAI researchers in their efforts to find breakthroughs and develop new treatments that could one day cure cancer. In order for VAI to be successful in their goal, they need funding. With governmental funding for scientific research being at a historic low, the majority of VAI’s funding is through people like you and me – people who want to annihilate cancer and neurodegenerative diseases from the world. Helping VAI through donations gives a purpose to the pain.
I’ve heard that marathons take emotional, mental, and physical strength and endurance. Watching Eric and my sister Chelsea (his wife) go through the medical “marathon” that they endured showed me their strength as individuals and as a couple. Eric had to go through unimaginable physical pain (months of chemo, countless surgeries, long recovery periods, the growth of his tumors when they came back with a vengeance) and yet he kept a truly remarkable positive, can-do attitude. He fought hard. I’m using Eric and Chelsea as my inspiration to fight through the physical pain and the mental challenges of running 26.2 miles because really, when you put it into that kind of perspective, a marathon should be a piece of cake!
I know that, unfortunately, every single one of us has been touched by cancer in some way, shape, or form.
I have hope in finding a cure and I have hope in my Savior Jesus Christ when He promised that I’ll see Eric again in Glory one day.
Isaiah 40:31 | 2 Timothy 4:7
Visit lifeofawittywidow.com for my sister's updates
Additional information from Van Andel Institute:
Purple Community is Van Andel Institute’s grassroots community awareness and fundraising program that connects individuals, schools, teams, and businesses to the resources needed to join the fight against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Individualized tools and customized assistance are available to create events and programs that help raise funds for biomedical research at Van Andel Institute. Because of people like you, thousands of cancer and neurodegenerative disease patients and their families have hope for the future.
When you fundraise through Purple Community, your efforts go farther. Thanks to a generous endowment from Jay and Betty Van Andel, every dollar of every donation goes directly to the cause – that’s 100% HOPE! You are helping accelerate research and translate discoveries into therapies that will conquer illness and save lives.
Research is expensive and government funding of scientific research is at a historic low. It currently takes more than 10 years and a billion dollars to bring a new drug or treatment from the laboratory bench to a patient’s bedside. We need your help to make this process go faster. When you support Purple Community, 100% of your funds support Van Andel Institute scientists who are studying more than 20 different diseases. To see the full list visit http://purplecommunity.vai.org/about/