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How Purple Week is Giving Back

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This past “Purple Week” has been a flurry of excitement leading up the purple football game that took place on September 15th at the Ionia High School field. The purple week and the purple game are in place to raise awareness for cancer. They also raise money to give to help people with the disease. Ionia won the game 20 to 7 against the Eaton Rapids team. At the end of the game, the jersey ceremony -where they present a purple jersey to a person who is currently battling cancer, a cancer survivor or the family that lost a loved one to cancer- proceeded as normal.

 

Upon asking a cheerleader what she felt when handing off a jersey to her aunt, she said, “I felt so honored to know someone who had fought cancer twice and won. It made me smile so big at the thought of her name being represented on my back for an entire day…. Handing a jersey off makes you feel like you’ve done something right, even if you’ve screwed up. It’s like the one thing you can do to help and applaud those who have fought, survived, or lost their fight.”

An Ionia cheerleader showing community spirit in her purple jersey.

I also asked a survivor what it meant to her to receive a jersey. She said, “When I first saw the jersey with my name on it, I got choked up and got tears in my eyes. Of all the people … (she) could have chosen, I felt honored that she chose me…. It also hit me, how close I had come to not living to see that moment…. I was there because I had cancer, but more importantly, I was there because I won the battle! It was a roller coaster of emotion, but one I wouldn’t trade for the world. I love that …(she) chose me, and I will keep the jersey forever as a reminder of the night that she chose me and how honored I felt.”

 

The jersey hand off means so much to everyone involved. Giving these jerseys to these people who have been through so much already is just one way that our community can say that we admire their strength. Giving them away shows that we can make a small difference in their lives. The people who receive these jerseys deserve to know how much they are respected and how much they deserve it.

Officer Cronk walks the halls in his purple jersey.

I was there because I had cancer, but more importantly, I was there because I won the battle! ”

— Cancer Survivor

During the game, booths were set up around the field selling items to raise money that will go towards cancer awareness. The cross country team held a bake sale where they raised $1,355 that goes directly to cancer awareness. All the money that is raised stays right here in the community. We contribute to hospital trips and medical bills. We give back to the families that are right here in Ionia.

 

I had a conversation with the athletic director, Mr. Barr, about the purple game and what it means to the athletics and to him. The game lets the athletes connect with the community and shows them that the game is still just a game. There is a bigger picture out there where some people have it much worse. They are blessed to be able to play, they are blessed to be alive.

 

This year’s purple week was very successful at raising money and raising awareness. This is just one way that Ionia High School is giving back to our community.

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How Purple Week is Giving Back