GREENVILLE — Downtown Greenville may now be covered in plentiful inches of fresh, white snow, but it won’t take much effort to spot dashes and bursts of the color purple as it peeks its way through.
Working together like a paintbrush steadily gliding along the streets of downtown Greenville, players from the Greenville High School boys and girls varsity basketball teams placed purple ribbons and posters on lampposts, trees and windows on Lafayette Street on Saturday morning.
To the common observer, it would appear the players were simply spreading spirit with the primary color of the high school, but their efforts in the bitter cold were for something far more important.
Each team member was taking part in the Hunt For a Cure “Paint the Town Purple” event, intended to spread awareness to all types of cancer during the month of January.
“It’s just a good way to get the town involved and to be more aware about cancer and how significant it is,” said senior Stephen Roy, 18. “It’s a good thing to do, being out here, putting up these signs and ribbons.”
Greenville Mayor John Hoppough made the Hunt For a Cure team’s efforts official with the signing of an official declaration Saturday that made January 2014 the official “Hunt For a Cure Days” month in Greenville.
“I believe everything we can do to increase awareness of health care issues and needs in the community is important,” Hoppough said. “It’s awesome to see this venture, to have people gather together, especially the young people.”
The Hunt For a Cure organization is currently preparing for the fifth annual “Hunt For a Cure” games at Greenville High School on Jan. 31.
A blood drive held by Michigan Blood will also take place Jan. 31, with Michigan Blood donating $10 for everyone who registers to donate.
The games, in which both the boys and girls varsity basketball teams will wear camouflage uniforms, are designed to raise money for cancer awareness and those in need due to cancer related issues in the Greenville school system.
With the signing of the new declaration, Hunt For a Cure Chairwoman Trisha Haist said she believes the event is now beginning to grow outside of the school system.
“More than anything, I think this means we are finally getting the word spread and getting the community involved,” Haist said. “Last year, we focused on getting the students from the high school involved, but we’ve shifted gears and want to get everybody from Greenville involved.”
Haist said the organization reached out to the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, which has asked businesses in Greenville to partake in the “Paint the Town Purple” activity by placing additional purple ribbons and items in their businesses and windows to spread awareness.
Spectrum Health United Foundation Development Associate Victoria Klumpp said the efforts by the Hunt For a Cure team have made a large impact in past five years.
“Cancer is something that affects everybody across the board,” Klumpp said. “We’re doing this because we have been affected by it. Right here in Greenville, we have world class cancer care and we’re a part of making it a better experience for our patients.”
Last year, Hunt For a Cure raised $9,476.19 with $4,000 that went toward the purchase of iPads for the Spectrum Health Cancer Center, which are used by patients to reduce anxiety and improve their treatment experience.
Klumpp said she is hoping more people will become aware and attend the games to help donate.
“We’re hoping people will really take notice, driving downtown and seeing purple everywhere,” she said.
Haist said she was especially proud of the players and students who took time on a Saturday to place the ribbons and posters throughout town.
“It warms my heart to see them out there,” she said. “We had sort of gotten away from involving the teams after awhile, and I think this is huge. The high schoolers understand and want to be involved.”