1 year ago

2020 Spring/Summer Highlights of Hope

  • Text
  • Research
  • Hope
  • Institute
  • Clinical
  • Michigan
  • Scientists
  • Diseases


PHILANTHROPY HOW VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE PURPLE COMMUNITY HELPS MAKE FUNDRAISING EVENTS A HIT For 13 years, Pat Ringnalda has been hosting the Bee Brave 5K to raise money for breast cancer research. Organizing the event is a heavy lift, but for the last three years, that work has been made easier with help from Van Andel Institute Purple Community. Bee Brave, which celebrated its 12th run in 2019, began partnering with Purple Community after Ringnalda attended a golf outing to benefit VAI’s scientific research. Ringnalda was impressed by the support Purple Community gives its community and corporate partners to carry out such events. The more she learned, the more she realized the Bee Brave 5K would benefit greatly from partnering with Purple Community. “I have often said, if God gives you the nerve to ask people for money to support great causes, do it!” Ringnalda said. “You start with the best institutions like VAI, because they will give you the tools and support you need to be successful in your efforts.” The Bee Brave 5K is one of dozens of community events hosted each year to benefit scientific research and education programs at the Institute. Many people who organize these events begin by wanting to donate to a good cause, but are unsure how to get started. Purple Community makes it easy using an online application that outlines each event’s needs such as expected event location, size and fundraising goal. Once the application is received, it’s reviewed to determine how Purple Community can best support the event. Examples include setting up online fundraising portals, designing event fliers and more. “Community events are an essential part of supporting the important work happening at VAI,” said Purple Community volunteer coordinator McKenzie Hollern. “We want our organizers to know how much we appreciate their efforts by offering our full support and resources to make their events a success.” To learn more, visit PAT RINGNALDA (RIGHT) 28 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE

KAY KOO HONORS FAMILY LEGACY OF GIVING When Kay Koo and her husband, Dr. Han-Mo Koo, arrived in Grand Rapids from Maryland in 1999, the city’s downtown was a sparse collection of shuttered businesses, fast food restaurants and a few beautiful, old churches. There was not, however, a research institute back then. Dr. Koo was one of the first scientists asked by Dr. George Vande Woude, a cancer research pioneer and Van Andel Institute’s first director of research, to help build Van Andel Institute from the ground up. “I feel a connection with what my husband started 20 years ago,” Koo said. “The Institute has my heart, and I hope we continue to grow and come up with new therapies for diseases that affect the lives of our loved ones. I really think my husband would be proud of what the Institute has become.” “We came here because we respected the work of Dr. Vande Woude, and even though there was not a lot going on in Grand Rapids at the time, we knew it would be exciting to be part of something new that didn’t exist yet,” Koo said. Dr. Koo served as head of the Institute’s Laboratory of Cancer Pharmacogenetics until he lost a six-month battle with cancer in 2004. His work focused on the identification of genetic targets for anticancer drug development for melanoma and pancreatic cancer. He was also an active contributor to the Institute’s Employee Impact Campaign that supported his fellow scientists. After his passing, Koo began working at the Institute as Dr. Vande Woude’s administrative assistant. Like her husband, Koo continued their family’s legacy of generosity as an employee donor. “I come from a family of giving. I grew up as the daughter of a pastor in a family where giving of yourself was just so natural,” Koo said. “I give to honor my husband’s memory and to support the people who helped me when he was so sick.” Koo recently surpassed her 15th year as a VAI employee, and after a decade and a half of service to the mission, the Institute is more than a place to work — it’s a family. KAY KOO VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 29

Publications by Year