Ionia – For one week each September, the people of Ionia wear purple in an effort to raise money for people with cancer – including people who lost their battle, those who overcame it, and anyone who continues to fight the disease.
Ionia Purple Community Awareness Week takes place from 10-17 September. Throughout the week, Ionia High School sports teams will wear purple during their respective competitions, and city residents donate money to Ionia Community Awareness (ICA), which raises money to support cancer patients and their families.
The president of the International Air Force Council, Diane Gromit, described the week as “emotional” and “humble”. Gromit said more and more people are being diagnosed with cancer, and they need financial support to help them focus on beating the disease.
“It’s important for us and us as a community to come together and raise money for those people who need to pay the bills,” Gromit said.
The ICA Purple Fund can help cancer patients use the money to cover home payments, car insurance, gas for appointments, and other things.
Since 2010, ICA has raised more than $200,000 during Purple Week in support of the Purple Fund. Last year Violet Week brought in more than $31,000.
“When the community comes out and helps support us, it’s so overwhelming,” Gromit said. “We are very grateful to the Ionia community for the help. It is a community at its best. When people need something, Ionia is there. We are very proud to be a part of the Ionia community and all that the people of Ionia do for us.”
T-shirts and T-shirt sponsorships are available at Wreckers Sports, 116 S. Depot St., in Ionia. The purple shirts are available for $15. Only people who wear the 2022 ICA Purple Week T-shirt can enter free Ionia High School games during the week. Jersey sponsorship is $50 for a soccer ball ($25 for reuse); $30 for soccer, volleyball, and swimming; and $25 per junior and junior volleyball player.
The full schedule is as follows:
- Friday 9th September – Girls’ Violet Golf Meet – 3:30pm – Location TBD
- Saturday 10 September – Purple Stampede Golf – 10 am – Hickory Hills Golf Course
- Tuesday September 13th – Purple Football Game – 7pm – Lloyd T Smith Memorial Stadium
- Thursday 15th September – Purple Swim Meeting – 6pm – Ionia High School
- Friday, September 16th – Purple Football Game – 7pm – Lloyd T Smith Memorial Stadium
- Saturday 17th Sep – Cruisin’ for a Cause – 6-9pm – Downtown Ionia ($10 per vehicle)
- Tuesday 20th September – Purple Volleyball – 6pm – Ionia High School Gymnasium
The football game in Ionia on Friday, September 16th will see the Bulldogs face Portland. IHS Cheer will offer face painting while Great Clips will offer purple hair stencils.
Before the game, cancer patients will board Ionia’s Public Safety Department vehicles and be led by the IHS cross-country team to Lloyd T. Smith Memorial Field to the applause of the crowd. A young patient will present a purple soccer ball to the game officials.
“It’s really touching to see these kids out there, or anyone fighting, and they feel like they have this big purple hug around them,” Gromit said. “I hope that gives them the strength to keep fighting and move forward.”
Gromit noted that working with Ionia Public Schools is a big part of Purple Week. IPS students and staff – who mainly wear blue – will wear purple to school on Friday, September 16.
“We feel it’s a very good partnership,” Gromit said. “We love showing kids to give back to your community and that even our youngest students can do something.”
The city’s 2022 signage sponsorship has already been sold out. Anyone interested in sponsoring a 2023 sign can contact the Ionia Region Chamber of Commerce at 616-527-2560.
Grummet thanks Ionia DPS; The city of Ionia. IPS management, staff and students; Local businesses; Residents and the ICA Board for their support during Purple Week.
“They do things out of the goodness of their hearts to our community all the time of the year,” Gromit said.