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02/08/2012 12:42 PM -

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Nothing rhymes with “purple,” but nearly everything at Van Andel Arena will be in sync with the color associated with cancer survivors on Saturday, Feb. 18, when the Grand Rapids Griffins host their first-ever “Purple Game” to benefit the Van Andel Institute (VAI).

When fans arrive for the 7 p.m. contest against the Peoria Rivermen, they’ll notice a host of purple touches that will create awareness and unique experiences throughout the night, including:

• Purple jerseys that will be worn by the Griffins, autographed and auctioned to the public in the Fifth Third Bank Vault restaurant after the game, with proceeds benefiting VAI;
PurpleJersey300.jpg• 10,000 purple T-shirts that will await fans in their seats;
• 2,500 white and purple rally towels that will be given away at the turnstiles;
• Purple polo shirts worn by the Griffins’ staff;
• Purple concession items such as cotton candy, sno cones and cupcakes;
• Purple VAI logos embedded in the arena’s ice surface;
• Purple game production elements, including songs, videos and LED graphics.

Four-year-old Clayton Kendall, a two-time cancer survivor from Grant, Mich., will drop the ceremonial puck before the game, and a salute to cancer survivors will take place during the first intermission. During the second intermission, one-of-a-kind speed painter Dan Dunn will take center ice to create a portrait of a famous personality that will be auctioned at a later date through VAI.

Fans who’d like to attend the game and support fundraising for cancer research can order their tickets online and use a special promotional code that will allocate $3 of their ticket price to VAI. Visit and enter the code “purple.” One hundred percent of the funds raised through the Purple Game will go directly to laboratory research at VAI.

From now through Feb. 18, the Griffins are “purpling out” their web site, Facebook page and Twitter page to call attention to this special night. The team is also offering prizes – including an overnight stay at the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott – to fans who change their profile picture to a “Purple Game” badge, or who post on its wall or tweet about the game.

“We are delighted to team with the Griffins for such an exciting event and for such an important cause,” said Love Collins III, VAI’s vice president of development and communications. “This Purple Game supports vital, local cancer research at Van Andel Institute, and is a great way of celebrating survivors, honoring loved ones lost to the disease, and providing hope to patients and families both locally and worldwide.”

Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute is an independent research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. VARI, the research arm of VAI, is dedicated to probing the genetic, cellular and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson and other diseases and working to translate those findings into effective therapies. This is accomplished through the work of over 200 researchers in 18 on-site laboratories and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. VARI is affiliated with the Translational Genomics Research Institute, (TGen), of Phoenix.

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