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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Navy blue, red, metallic silver and metallic gold are the official team colors of the Grand Rapids Griffins, but purple will also be included this Friday, when the team hosts its second annual “Purple Community Game” to benefit the Van Andel Institute and cancer research.

When fans arrive for the 7 p.m. contest against the Hamilton Bulldogs, they’ll notice that nearly everything at Van Andel Arena will be in sync with the color associated with cancer survivors, 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;
•    10,000 purple T-shirts that will be handed out as fans enter the arena;
•    Purple polo shirts worn by the Griffins’ staff;
•    Purple concession items such as cotton candy, sno cones, popcorn and cupcakes;
•    Purple VAI logos embedded in the arena’s ice surface;
•    Purple game production elements, including songs, videos and LED graphics.

Additionally, Haley Gort, a resident of Caledonia, Mich., who returned to her high school’s basketball team last month after battling cancer for two years, will drop the ceremonial puck before the game, and a salute to cancer survivors will take place during the first intermission.

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.

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 to fans who change their profile picture to a “Purple Game” badge, or who post on its wall or tweet about the game. Fans can also text “PURPLE” to 50555 to donate $10 to VAI.

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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