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2020 Fall/Winter Highlights of Hope

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PURPLE COMMUNITY The

PURPLE COMMUNITY The pandemic threatened the Bee Brave 5K — Pat Ringnalda is fighting for its future Pat Ringnalda was certain 2020 would be the year she retired from her daily duties helming Bee Brave — well, as “retired” as a consummate self-starter can be. She would pass the torch on day-to-day administrative duties at the organization, which champions breast cancer patients and survivors and raises tens of thousands of dollars each year through the Bee Brave 5K to benefit research at Van Andel Institute. Ringnalda and her team have built Bee Brave into a community institution and fundraising juggernaut. In 2017, Bee Brave officially partnered with Van Andel Institute Purple Community, the Institute’s grassroots community support network. Ringnalda chose to partner When the first 5K was hosted in 2008, Ringnalda thought it would be a one-off; she would raise around 0 for breast cancer research, and that would be that. The event proved successful, so she hosted another the year after that. And the year after that. And the year after that. “You could tell the energy was behind our cause,” Ringnalda said of the race’s earliest years. “It’s gone on for 13 years. That’s not because of me; that’s because of the community and the people who have rallied behind our cause. It’s such a unique and beautiful organization of people.” “You could tell the energy was behind our cause. It’s gone on for 13 years. That’s not because of me; that’s because of the community and the people who have rallied behind our cause. It’s such a unique and beautiful organization of people.” — PAT RINGNALDA with Purple Community after she learned 100% of the proceeds from race day would go directly to research at the Institute. Though she would retire from the day-to-day operations, Ringnalda planned to stay on in some capacity, providing help on race days and continuing to drum up support from the sponsors who have supported Bee Brave’s mission all these years. That was the plan before the COVID-19 pandemic, before the world ground to a halt in the face of a new and deadly threat. Suddenly, for Ringnalda, 2020 was no longer about retiring. It was about ensuring the race’s survival. “It’s like you’re running a race in a mud pond,” Ringnalda said of organizing the 5K amid a pandemic. “You can have all the momentum and all the great ideas you want, but when there’s no ability to do anything but stay home, what do you do?” By partnering with the Institute and Purple Community, Ringnalda was able to elevate the Bee Brave 5K from a race that had raised around ,000 each year for research to an event that brought in ,000 at its peak in 2018. “I knew our cause and the money we raised would jump that much higher, because I could say without a shadow of a doubt that our money was staying in West Michigan,” Ringnalda said. “I don’t think people know just how amazing it is to have Van Andel Institute and Purple Community right here in Grand Rapids.” To learn more about Van Andel Institute Purple Community and Bee Brave, visit purplecommunity.org. Like everything else, things looked different this year. The 13th annual Bee Brave 5K was hosted on Oct. 10, in accordance with state guidelines, with a virtual option available. Ringnalda doesn’t know what the future holds as far as her retirement goes. That will play out in due course. Looking back over the decade-plus she’s spent organizing the race, she’s struck by how it’s grown. 10 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE

MEMORIES FROM THE 2018 BEE BRAVE 5K: PAT RINGNALDA JOINS A GROUP OF 5K PARTICIPANTS; PATRICK DISCHINGER, DR. MATT STEENSMA, MENUSHA ARUMUGAM & PAT RINGNALDA VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 11

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