11 months ago

2017 Fall Highlights of Hope

  • Text
  • Andel
  • Institute
  • Highlights
  • Scientists
  • Michigan
  • Schweigert
  • Colvin
  • Jboard
  • Bergsma
  • Brundin


PURPLE COMMUNITY PUTTING AN END TO PARKINSON'S Ken and Jill Peirce never thought they would be up at the crack of dawn, walking in a five-kilometer-long race, but on a rainy, frosty spring morning they were walking alongside hundreds of other people at the Purple Community 5K. Ken, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013, didn’t mind the cold, rain or the early morning, because he was walking in support of a cause that is close to his heart—Parkinson’s disease research. One fateful meeting In 2014, Ken and Jill made an appointment to meet with Dr. Patrik Brundin, Van Andel Research Institute’s associate director of research and director of the Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science. It was a meeting that gave them hope for the future and welcomed them into a supportive new community. “We were really impressed with Patrik,” Ken said. “He’s got all the credentials in the world, but the way he speaks about Parkinson’s research is so forthright, down to earth and easy to understand.” After their meeting, Dr. Brundin invited Ken and Jill to attend the Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease symposium, where they could listen to scientists from all over the world and learn about important advancements in Parkinson’s disease research. “The caliber of people who attend Grand Challenges is really impressive,” Ken said. “It was very insightful and encouraging to hear from experts in Parkinson’s disease research, and we really enjoyed being able to ask them questions about new discoveries on the horizon.” The Peirce’s are proud to support the work of Dr. Brundin and the biomedical research taking place in their own backyard. “We are really blessed to have Dr. Brundin and his team here in West Michigan,” Ken said. “We are really grateful to the Van Andel family for creating such a thriving scientific community in our hometown.” (LEFT) THE PEIRCE FAMILY WITH THEIR GRANDCHILDREN. (RIGHT) LYNNE JARMAN-JOHNSON OF CONSUMERS CREDIT UNION. 4 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE

“It should make people feel good to know that when they become part of Purple Community and donate to the Institute, every penny goes into the lab—and for someone with Parkinson’s that fact means the world to me.” - Ken Peirce Surprises are always welcome When Ken and Jill signed up to walk the Purple Community 5K to support Dr. Brundin and Parkinson’s disease research at the Institute, they thought they might raise 0. After all was said and done, between donations from friends and family, they had raised almost ,000. “When we saw that we raised so much money it was surprising,” Jill said. “Once we told our story on Facebook and let people know 100 percent of the donations were going to Parkinson’s research, it just took off.” It was heartening to learn that so many people shared their desire to put an end to Parkinson’s, and Ken thinks if the support for research remains strong, putting an end to Parkinson’s is a real possibility. “I’m an impatient person, and I want to see this horrible disease cured in my lifetime if (LEFT TO RIGHT) CAROL VAN ANDEL, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR BRIAN CALLEY AND SHELLEY IRWIN. possible,” Ken said. “It should make people feel good to know that when they become part of Purple Community and donate to the Institute, every penny goes into the lab—and for someone with Parkinson’s that fact means the world to me.” COUNTRY KICKS CANCER—B93 AND THE INTERSECTION Most people might not pair biomedical research with country music, but for Van Andel Institute’s (VAI) Purple Community it’s a partnership made in heaven. What started as a one-time concert event in 2011 has transformed into a year-round Country Kicks Cancer concert series with iHeartMedia’s B93 radio station and local concert venue The Intersection. For every Country Kicks Cancer ticket sold, The Intersection donates to fund cancer research at VAI. One dollar may not seem like a lot at first, but when you add it all up, every dollar makes a difference. For the 2016–2017 concert series, B93 brought in country artists like Hunter Hayes, Chase Rice, LoCash and Old Dominion to help raise over ,000—and it’s not over yet. Concerts are scheduled throughout the coming months and will continue until next year’s Birthday Bash! Over the years, B93 and The Intersection’s commitment to supporting Purple Community and VAI has been truly remarkable. We’re extremely grateful for their partnership and look forward to their continued support of cancer research— one country concert at a time. Thank you B93 and The Intersection! HUNTER HAYES. VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 5

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