My Town: Breweries help battle cancer and Parkinson's with 'Hops for Hope' | Arts & Culture
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Knock back a beer and help knock out cancer this month with “Hops for Hope.”
During September, several West Michigan breweries will be donating $1 from each “purple beer” purchase to Van Andel Institute’s Purple Community. Proceeds from sales of Hops for Hope growlers and refills will also go to the cause.
“It’s good to give back to the community,” Bob Bonga, owner of the family-owned and operated Jaden James Brewery in Kentwood. “It’s wonderful that VAI is in Grand Rapids, and 100% of what we raise goes to research.”
For many employees and owners of the participating breweries, the battle against both diseases is personal. In addition to working as a researcher scientist for VAI, Jenn White co-owns White Flame Brewing Company with her husband, Bill. The couple lost both their maternal grandmothers to complications related to breast cancer, and Jenn’s father recently lost his fight with lung cancer.
“My father was the healthiest person I knew who never smoked a day in his life,” said Jenn. “For him to be diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer was shocking, devastating and incomprehensible. But it taught me a valuable lesson: no one is immune from its devastation.”
“I watched my wife’s mother go through Parkinson’s,” said Bonga. “It’s a long, hard fight, and it affects quite a few people in many ways.”
Participating breweries are located in Grand Rapids, Hudsonville, Kalamazoo, Sparta and along the lakeshore. They include Tapistry Brewing Co., White Flame Brewing Co., Saugatuck Brewing Co., The Mitten Brewing Co. and Jaden James Brewery. For more information about the Hops for Hope event and a list of participating locations, visit purplecommunity.org.