Community: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
The Rockford and Grand Rapids lacrosse communities may not be in the same place, but their hearts are. Besides a love for lacrosse, they have one other important characteristic in common—they want to fight cancer and they want to win.
Despite busy schedules and other commitments, this dedicated group of community members representing Rockford High School and Grand Rapids Christian High School lacrosse are coming together for the third consecutive year to form their own Purple Community—one that is filled with cancer survivors, those whose loved ones have been touched by cancer and hundreds who have a passion for the research underway at Van Andel Research Institute.
LAX v. Cancer is an exemplary Purple Community event that unites players of all ages to our mission at the Institute—to improve the health and enhance the lives of current and future generations through cutting edge research.
The games also will feature a special guest—Patrick Grohar, M.D., Ph.D., a scientist in the Institute’s Center for Cancer and Cell Biology as well as a practicing pediatric oncologist at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where he is a member of the sarcoma team.
We’re going to let you in on a little known fact—Dr. Grohar also is a former Villanova Division I lacrosse player. From lacrosse player to physician-scientist. Pretty cool, right?
The money raised from this event will go straight to Dr. Grohar’s lab to further his efforts in cancer research, specifically developing new therapies for pediatric sarcomas such as Ewing sarcoma. Dr. Grohar plans to attend this year’s LAX v. Cancer games to support both teams as they play the game he loves to support his ongoing research.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand scientific research because it isn’t necessarily tangible or the research is being done in a lab hundreds of miles away. By meeting Dr. Grohar, we hope the community will get a real sense of the exciting breakthroughs occurring right here in West Michigan, and inspire those who are devoted to building their very own Purple Community.
*Photos courtesy of Grand Rapids Christian Eagles