posted October 20, 2009

Football Team Plays Purple Game for Cancer Research

The trademark orange-and-blue uniforms worn by the Hope College football team will be tucked away on Saturday (Oct. 23) as the Flying Dutchmen don purple jerseys for their MIAA game against the Adrian Bulldogs.

The "Purple Game for Cancer Research" will kick off from Holland Municipal Stadium at 1 p.m.

The entire Hope team of more than 125 players will be wearing purple jerseys to celebrate cancer survivors as they play to win and raise money for a cure.

"Cancer has affected my personal family as well as our Hope College football family," coach Dean Kreps said.

"This "Purple Game for Cancer Awareness" has taken on significant meaning for all of our coaches and players.  I lost my mother to cancer during the 2000 season and have always wanted to do something like this.  My brother's wife is a breast cancer survivor.  I lost a grandfather and a grandmother to cancer.

"This disease has reared it's ugly head again this year.  Three of our current players have lost parents THIS year to cancer.  We have at least two more parents of current players battling cancer right now.  So many of our players have been affected by having close relatives with cancer.  This is a great way for me and our entire team to give something back to the community."

All proceeds from the sale of purple jerseys and other fund raising initiatives will go directly to cancer research at the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids.

As an alumnus, it is especially meaningful to me that the Hope College football team is bringing the community together to help Van Andel Institute fight cancer," said David Van Andel, chairman and CEO of the Van Andel Institute. "I want to thank all involved for supporting Community for a Cure and I hope that this event will give people an opportunity to both celebrate and remember loved ones who have struggled with this devastating disease."

"The fact that 100% of all proceeds will go to the Van Andel Research Institute is important to us.  We are very happy to keep the money in our area supporting the great work that VARI does," said Kreps.

The response to this initiative has been overwhelming with more than 250 purple jerseys purchased by family and friends of Hope players, according to Kreps.

Two other Hope teams will be sponsoring cancer awareness activities this weekend. The volleyball and women's soccer teams will "Dig and Kick for a Cure to Help Hope Win!" in the battle against cancer.  Their's will be in honor of women's tennis coach Karen Page who died in July after battling cancer for several years.

The volleyball team will host Albion on Friday night (6:30 p.m.) on the main court of the DeVos Fieldhouse and the women's soccer team will entertain Albion on Saturday afternoon (noon) at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.

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