COLUMN: A day to believe in Belding

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 4:24 pm on Thursday, September 22, 2011

I’m not sure if anyone ever imagined the impact the Lowell Red Arrows “Pink Arrow Project” would have on the Lowell community, the surrounding areas and possible the country.

Started in 2008, the “Pink Arrow Project” was created to bring awareness for the treatment and cure of the many forms of cancer. The efforts include athletic events with pink uniforms, T-shirt sales, 5K and 10K runs and much more.

In its first three years, the project raised more than $700,000. NBC’s Today Show was even in Lowell last Friday to film a segment about the project during the football game between the Red Arrows and Muskegon Reeths-Puffer.

In addition to its own fundraising success, the project has inspired communities around the area and state. The latest community is Belding.

The B Foundation was formed to help local cancer patients and their families. The idea was spurred by a seminar hosted in Lowell to explain, teach and offer ideas on running similar fundraising efforts.

Belding coach Mikayla Linebaugh and athletic director Joel Wilker attended the event and immediately began work on a community project involving Belding.

“They both came back and said this is awesome, not only only because of raising funds to help people locally, but it provides an opportunity to our students in the district to get involved and to think about life as a big picture,” B Foundation volunteer Heidi Wilker said.

A week-long series of events will begin on Monday with school assemblies, athletic events, a Glow Run 5K/walk and more.

“This is something we can go above and beyond within the school system and the community,” Wilker said.

While not officially tied to the school district, the B Foundation is in the process of becoming a nonprofit organization. Money raised will be used to help families coping with cancer. Uses will include gas to and from treatments, bills and other everyday expenses.

More than 1,000 T-shirts have been sold with another order already on its way. Businesses have donated money. Community members have volunteered time. This is truly a community event.

The Redskins were hoping to play an outdoor volleyball match on Sept. 23, but could not find a willing participant this year. Tuesday’s match against Sparta will serve as the designated pink game this year. Sparta will also be the opponent during Friday’s football game.

Other athletic teams will be taking part, as well. Players from Belding will be wearing pink uniforms and accessories. The crowds are expected to covered in pink, as well.

The Glow Run will take place following the football game. The course begins at Rudness Field, goes through town and ends at Candlestone Golf & Resort.

The support has been outstanding thus far. While Belding’s “Day to Believe” is Sept. 23, battling cancer is an everyday struggle. The community of Belding, touched by so many recent losses, is in this for the long haul.

If you have the chance, come out and support the hard work and efforts of many Belding residents. It will be a special week in Belding.

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