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2016 Annual Report

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Our Angels of Excellence

Our Angels of Excellence Carol Van Andel, executive director of the David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation, is always looking for new ways to spotlight the generosity of Van Andel Institute’s volunteers, advocates and donors. In 2013, she created the Carol Van Andel Angel of Excellence Award to celebrate the efforts of individuals who have demonstrated exceptional service on behalf of Van Andel Institute’s mission. Van Andel created an event that is focused on gratitude and celebrating the rich and diverse Van Andel Institute community. Van Andel is consistently impressed by the dedication and spirit of the Angel of Excellence Award recipients, and for her, they serve as a reminder of what is possible when talent and generosity are paired with action. “Every day, I am touched by the impact of these women,” Van Andel said. “They are community leaders who are choosing to give of themselves, and in the process, they are making a real difference for others. It’s an absolute honor to work alongside them.” “This event is close to my heart,” Van Andel said. “Our Angel of Excellence recipients bring such joy, creativity and purpose to our leadership boards and planning committees. Because of their work, we are able to support research that benefits the millions of people living with cancer and Parkinson’s disease, and science education programs that inspire thousands of students.” In April 2016, the award was given to Peggy Greydanus, Debbie Kinney, Jamie Mills and Rachel Mraz, four women who organize and sponsor impactful fundraising events and helped build important relationships between young professionals and the Institute. Greydanus and Kinney both serve on the Hope on the Hill Gala planning committee and help organize the Institute’s signature annual event that raises funds to benefit the Institute’s biomedical research and science education programs. For more than 10 years, the two incredibly dedicated volunteers worked directly with Van Andel to create and support some of the most spectacular fundraising galas in West Michigan. (LEFT TO RIGHT) RACHEL MRAZ, DEBBIE KINNEY, CAROL VAN ANDEL, PEGGY GREYDANUS AND JAMIE MILLS. Mills worked directly with Van Andel to co-create A Conversation About Breast Cancer, the first in a series of community-minded, health advocacy events held at the Institute. In addition to her health advocacy efforts, Mills is a top sponsor of events such as Hope on the Hill, the Van Andel Institute Golf Outing and Couture for a Cure and is a tireless ambassador on behalf of the Institute. Rachel Mraz is a West Michigan business leader with a passion for philanthropy. Her connections to the Grand Rapids business community and enthusiasm for the Institute’s mission inspired her to create the Van Andel Institute JBoard Ambassadors in 2009. The JBoard hosts events, engages the West Michigan community and provides philanthropic support for the Institute’s initiatives. Under Mraz’s leadership, the JBoard continues to be a significant community engagement force and a meaningful way for young people to partner with the Institute. “Our Angel of Excellence recipients bring such joy, creativity and purpose to our leadership boards and planning committees. Because of their work, we are able to support research that benefits the millions of people living with cancer and Parkinson’s disease, and science education programs that inspire thousands of students.” Carol Van Andel 32 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2016

Trina Taylor - A Moment on the Runway EVENTS Trina Taylor’s life is filled with passion, positivity and hope. A mother, working professional, model and cancer patient advocate, she lives by her own personal motto, “make memories on purpose.” TRINA TAYLOR WALKS THE RUNWAY AT COUTURE FOR A CURE. In 2012, Taylor was diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer—a disease that affects 200,000 new people in the United States every year. The news was devastating, but Taylor, determined to not let her diagnosis define her, has been fighting ever since. Her willingness to fight gave her the strength to work with her physician and enroll in a clinical trial at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University supported by the Van Andel Research Institute-Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team. Agreeing to participate in the trial, which uses a combination treatment to reprogram cancer cells to better respond to chemotherapy, was a gamble, but it was also an act that would change the course of her life. “The importance of a clinical trial is that it gives so many people like me hope—hope for what’s next,” Taylor said. To honor Trina’s indomitable spirit, grace and work as an outspoken advocate for cancer patients, she was invited by Carol Van Andel to walk the runway at the 11 th annual Couture for a Cure—a significant fundraiser for Van Andel Institute and the premier fashion event in West Michigan. On a fall night, with hundreds of eyes focused on her every step, Taylor walked out on the runway filled with bright lights and dazzling color. When the spotlight hit her, she did something unusual for any model —she paused and “The importance of a clinical trial is that it gives so many people like me hope—hope for what’s next.” Trina Taylor looked out into the audience. She couldn’t help it. Five hundred people were giving her a standing ovation, and it was a moment she wanted to cherish. “I always take in a deep breath right before I take my first step. In my mind, I’m carrying all of these women who are dealing with the same things I am—being bald, living with cancer. For me, it’s empowering,” Taylor said. “That night, instead of walking the runway, I was taking a bow—and in that bow, I was saying, ‘Thank you!’” VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2016 | 33

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