Lowell’s First Look has gone pink this week to celebrate! In the community of Lowell, Pink Arrow Pride is celebrating its 10th year. The idea of a community raising money to support local families on a cancer journey has grown in the last decade. Noel Dean saw the wife of former NFL quarterback Brett Farve in a press box wearing a pink jersey which then inspired him to create Pink Arrow Pride, an all volunteer run organization. In its first year the goal was to raise $10,000 by selling t-shirts which serve as a ticket to each year’s Pink Arrow game. During a time of economic uncertainty the Lowell community raised $95,000.
Each year funds are used locally. Funds are split between Community Wellness and Gilda’s Club of Lowell. Additionally the Dr. Gerard medical scholarship and Kathy Talus athlete scholarships are awarded each year. Community Wellness helps with family support and an education fund. Gilda’s Club serves the community through programs and activities which help those dealing with cancer along with their families. Last year $126,500 was raised and distributed within the Lowell community.
Since beginning in 2009, a total of 564 monetary gifts have been given to 323 individuals. A family or individual is eligible for a gift once every calendar year and up to a total of three times as long as a financial hardship remains. So far in 2017 a total of 74 gifts have been given.
Although the main event for Pink Arrow is in September, efforts throughout the year go into planning events and helping those in need. Community events also raise funds for Pink Arrow Pride year round.
- In the spring Mi Hometown Furnishings raised over $6,000 by contributing a portion of their sales during their first month in business.
- All Weather Seal matched $1 for each Pink Arrow t-shirt purchased during Community Day.
- Main Street BBQ donates a portion of every nacho appetizer ordered to Pink Arrow. This effort goes on year round.
- During the month of June area artists were busy creating chairs. Through silent auction approximately 70 chairs were purchased raising over $7,000 for Pink Arrow through efforts of Flat River Gallery and Framing and LowellArts.
- Throughout the month of August Garage of Lowell put aside $5 for Pink Arrow for every oil change they completed. They donated a total of $935.00.
The Pink Arrow game will be on Friday, September 8 with Lowell players wearing pink jerseys with names of cancer patients and survivors on their backs. The community is enthusiastic about hosting long time rival East Grand Rapids in soccer, volleyball, and football that day. Country singer Dave Bray will be providing game day musical entertainment and restaurant row will offer numerous food selections. This year’s t-shirt sponsors are Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center, J&H Family Stores, Enwork, Meijer, All-Weather Seal, Custom Components Corporation, Carbon Green Bioenergy, Remembering Renee Grant & Sharon Schnipke, and Mi Hometown Furnishings.
Pink Arrow Pride started with a special football game. But it has grown into a community event recognized in West Michigan and has been covered nationally. Be sure to plan on coming early and enjoy all of the game day events. Gates open at 2:30pm with lots to see and do before kickoff shortly after 7pm.