Pink Out 2021 – Our Brave Honorees

Wow! What an amazing week it has been for the Pink Out community! Seeing so many people show their support around town and in school has been very exciting. Each and every person who bought a shirt, made a donation, said a prayer – is demonstrating how much this community cares for our fighters and their family members. No effort is too small in achieving the mission that NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE!


The week is almost over, but for some, the fight is just beginning! You can support your neighbors through these donation methods.


Introducing the Honorees of Pink Out 2021

The Pink Out honoree video stories give you the opportunity to hear from them in their own words. Please watch and be encouraged! Also, you can check out the Jenison Pink Out Facebook Page to join the conversation and stay informed on Pink Out activities throughout the coming year.

Jamey Mc Leod

On February 20, 2019, Jamey was diagnosed with a high grade, stage 4 esophageal cancer that had metastasized to lymph notes in his chest. His caregivers would be his wife Beth, his 10-year-old daughter Vivian and his 8-year old daughter Francine, both of whom attend Pinewood Elementary. Jamey never thought about accepting his grim diagnosis as an option. He had a family that depended on him! No matter how bad the treatments or recovery would be, he stayed focused on the reason for his fight, telling himself that it will get better. Just don’t give up. Make future plans. Do crazy stuff. Have fun. Don’t be afraid to accept help (which was his biggest obstacle). Your friends, family, community, and Pink Out are there for you.


Jody Heyboer

Jody has a remarkable and brave journey and is a big part of our Pink Out family. She is joined in her cancer journey by her husband, Brandon, and her three children: Alexis who graduated from Jenison in 2019, Dylan who is a JHS senior, and Eliza who is in fifth grade at Pinewood. Jody was diagnosed with rectal cancer in March 2017 (stage III), which progressed to stage IV Dec. 2019, and then diagnosed with Stage II non-small cell lung cancer Jan 2020, and basal cell carcinoma each year, for the last four years.

Jody has a beautiful perspective that comes with staring death in the face, “I GET TO.” I GET TO be here and enjoy the everyday tasks as well as fall in love with living. I GET TO savor each day I am here and enjoy my life journey. For Jody, life is a rollercoaster with the ups and downs, but in the end she is always smiling, sharing that “one is given the choice to succumb to this horrific disease or rise up and live. I choose to live, I’m not dying today.”


Jill and Emily Barnes

Emily graduated with honors from Jenison in 2018. On her 21st birthday, November 11, 2020, she was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic kidney cancer. She is currently undergoing immunotherapy treatments and could use our prayers, especially this week as she once again has scans to determine the effectiveness of her treatment. Jill Barnes, Emily’s mom, knows all too well the effect of cancer on your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer on January 6, 2016 and had surgery one month later. Both she and Emily felt honored to discuss their cancer journey and have a chance to share their appreciation for Pink Out’s support and generosity. Jill states that, “Pink Out helps anyone with cancer, no matter what kind or how old you are. As the recipients of Pink Out support at several different times over the past four years, we have truly felt that No One Fights Alone in Jenison.” They know that Pink Out is always there to lift fighters up, spiritually and emotionally.


Dave Huyser

Dave Huyser and Brenda Jo Wierenga-Huyser are both 1984 graduates of Jenison High School. Their son, Zach Huyser graduated from Jenison in 2011 and daughters Kendra Huyser graduated in 2009, Heather Wierenga in 2011, and Holly Wierenga in 2013.

Dave Huyser’s first wife, Brenda Sue, was the first cancer fighter to be honored and supported by Jenison Pink Out. Although, Brenda Sue lost her battle with breast cancer, her legacy lives on through Pink Out. Dave allowed his heart to beat again, and in June of 2017 married Brenda Jo.

Unfortunately, cancer reared its ugly head again. In 2017 Dave was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma of the scalp which was treated with radiation treatments, and then this past September he was diagnosed with recurrent Stage 4 large b-cell abdominal lymphoma. He has undergone six cycles of continuous chemo for a week, every three weeks, with spinal chemo prior to each cycle. Dave and Brenda are deeply appreciative of the support that the Huysers felt from this community and Pink Out during Brenda Sue’s breast cancer journey. They have felt that same support now. They want everyone to know that God is in control. Life is short, so enjoy every minute, because it’s in His hands.


Kevin Clark

Kevin and Jeanette Clark raised three children, Justin who graduated from Jenison in 2003, Nick in 2006 and Monica in 2007. Jeanette has been a full-time employee and coach at JPS for 24 years. Their daughter-in-law, Julie, also teaches for Jenison Public Schools. Their children have blessed them with six young grandchildren.

Kevin was first diagnosed in 2015 with progressive prostate cancer. Kevin’s journey has been a very long and difficult one, but he has become very knowledgeable and strong along the way. Kevin is an exceptional listener who has become very dedicated to helping and supporting other men who have been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Kevin has shared time and again how deeply moved he and Jeanette have felt by the emotional support from our community through Pink Out. Kevin states that, “With calls, concerns, and gifts, it has helped people in our situation to feel like we’re not going through this alone. We are deeply grateful, and may God bless you.”


Jeanine Decker Jannereth

Jeanine began her battle with breast cancer about a year ago. Those by her side have been her husband, Chad, her daughter Cayleigh, who graduated from Jenison in 2017, and Stephen who is graduating this year. Her daughter Jaelynn is in eighth at JJHS and Kymber is in fifth grade at Vanguard Academy. Jeanine is passionate about bringing awareness to the growing prevalence of breast cancer, encouraging women to be proactive advocates for themselves. She has felt very blessed to be part of our community, which according to Jeanine has been there “every step of the way, motivating, uplifting, and inspiring (her) along the way!” She wishes to recognize Pink Out as a huge blessing not only for fighters, but for families and for the entire Jenison community.


THANK YOU Jenison Pink Out Representatives!!

These resident Angels work YEAR ROUND to be the hands and feet of our community. Words cannot express the level of gratitude I have for the leadership of our Pink Out committee: Katy Hevelhurst, Donna Bergeon, Cindi Covell, Jean Krzewski, and Moni Marlink . These caring, compassionate women lead the way to care for our neighbors whenever it is needed; they are making a huge impact! THANK YOU for everything you do!


JHS Virtual Assembly

The Jenison High School Student Council wanted to continue to raise awareness and donations for Pink Out. They worked hard to plan an alternative to the annual Pink Out Assembly… Introducing the premiere of the “Early Afternoon Show with StuCo”.

Student Council representatives hosted a news reporting style production to share socially distanced activities that were happening around the school. Students remained in their classrooms and watched via live feed. The Chamber Singers kicked off the event by performing the National Anthem in the choir room. The rest of the ‘virtual assembly’ allowed them to participate in the usual fun events including a pie-in-the-face trivia challenge, mock rock (a choreographed routine competition between the grades), the naming of ‘King and Queen’ for their first ever WildCat court, a “Miracle Minute” competition fundraiser between classrooms and a surprise visit from a special Wildcat guest! Way to go StuCo! They packed a lot of fun into that hour assembly and raised about $1,500 of student donations!

EVEN APART,

TOGETHER, WE ARE JENISON!

THANK YOU!

Jenison Pink Out 2021

On a snowy Friday evening in February 2009, our entire community came together to support one woman battling breast cancer. We linked arms with one family and never could have imagined where this journey would take us. None of us ever dreamed the spark that was lit that year would still be growing stronger 12 years later. It has since been an honor to broaden the support and walk alongside those in our community fighting any form of cancer.

Throughout the years, the people and businesses of Jenison have surrounded these families in a very special way and have made Pink Out an annual highlight since the beginning. The event coincided with Friday night Varsity basketball games and were often competing with a Michigan winter storm. But the snow never kept us away. We sold out of t-shirts, we ran out of parking spots and we all experienced just how hot a standing-room-only gymnasium could be. And it became the norm, year after year. It was the best, and the atmosphere was never anything short of wholehearted support for those we came to honor. Pink Out has a rich and historic tradition in the Jenison community and I swell with pride each time we gather together to celebrate life.

Yes, this year will look different, but I can emphatically say, even now during a pandemic, the spirit of Jenison Pink Out can not and will not be stopped. We are still going to encourage those fighting the battle right now, continue fighting for a cure and honor the taken!

The 2021 Pink Out flags are proudly flying courtesy of the Varsity Women’s Basketball Team. As you drive down Baldwin these wintry days, may they be a beacon of pride in our community. Please notice them in support for our fighters and survivors and in remembrance of the taken. The Pink Out team has recently been busy with tee shirt sales and distribution.

The Pink Out volunteers work tirelessly year round to coordinate support and be the hands and feet of the community for families in the fight. They host a public Facebook page with all the information you’ll want for this year’s virtual events. Seven honorees have been chosen for 2021 and their stories will be shared in the coming week via the Jenison Pink Out Facebook Page. You will get to hear their journey and witness their courage and bravery while in their fight against cancer. We can’t wait to celebrate them! The facebook page will also be sharing how students will be participating in different activities in their classrooms/buildings. Join and follow the page to be part of a very encouraging movement this coming week!

The team is also excited to announce that there is a new Pink Out website that now receives online donations: Check it out at www.jenisonpinkout.org

We may be socially distant, but we can stand together in support of our neighbors.


2021 Honorees

  • Emily Barnes
  • Jill Johnson Barnes
  • Kevin Clark
  • Jody Heyboer
  • Dave Huyser
  • Jeanine Decker Jannereth
  • Jamey McLeod
We are so thankful for the sponsors that have come alongside us this year. Pink Out could not exist without the support of the community business in this way. While you’re out and about, please take a moment to thank them for their support! Below, you’ll also see web links for each sponsor.

Sponsor links:

If you need some warm encouragement during a cold winter week, join me for a walk down memory lane with past Pink Out Celebrations!

#WeAreJenison

http://www.JenisonPinkOut.org

Pink Out 2020

Last Friday was our 12th Annual Pink Out event. This is the one day of the year that our amazing community comes together to support and make the renewed commitment that we will do everything in our power to fight against the ugly disease we call cancer. We cherish the gift of life and we will continue to support our families. I am so thankful that our gym is packed to standing room only on a yearly basis on this special night!

While this is no doubt a community wide effort, I also wanted to recognize the momentum our Jenison High School student body creates each and every year. In addition to t-shirt sales and donations, these students have creatively invented opportunities for fundraising and donated nearly $15,000 through the ‘Senior Survivor’ as well as the Men’s Varsity Basketball free throw contest.

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We were also honored to share this evening with our neighbors, the Reeths Puffer community, who recently stood in battle with one of their middle school teachers. We empathize with their loss and are glad that they were able to experience being a part of something we know is near and dear to their hearts as well.

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2020

Jenison Pink Out Honorees

Melanie Davis, Kimberly Duch, Ofelia Munez, Jody Heyboer, and Zach Schab. Continued support to you, from our entire community!

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Melanie Davis

Melanie’s whirlwind cancer journey began during the pregnancy of her 3rd child. A headache revealed a tumor which was successfully removed during the pregnancy. Not long after that, additional tumors were discovered throughout her body and diagnosed.

She was overwhelmed by the support and encouragement that initially came from her son’s school – people who were perfect strangers. Melanie didn’t want to ask for help and wasn’t really sure what to expect through treatments or even what sort of support she would need. That expanded into an introduction to the Pink Out team. The leaders of Pink Out were the face to all the names that were already praying for and offering Melanie’s family support. They provided additional emotional support and a listening ear. Pink Out was there with gas and meal cards, flowers, cookies, encouragement cards and more! And in true Jenison fashion, the Pink Out team went above and beyond in support for the family when their infant daughter passed away after fighting a medical condition. Melanie, you are not in this fight alone!

Kimberly Duch

Cancer is relentless and knows no boundaries. Just a few years ago, the Duch family came to Pink Out to honor Kim’s Mother-in-law Dianne Duch. Dianne was a courageous fighter and a friend to so many in the community. She passed away about a month before Kim’s diagnosis. Today, Kim takes a spot on the Pink Out floor to share about her journey with breast cancer. After finally facing her overdue mammogram, she found herself building her life around consults, appointments and many other facets of this journey they were all too familiar with. Early detection was on her side and with an aggressive plan of action, she had a very good prognosis and now recovery. Kim is exceptionally grateful for the friendship and continued support from Pink Out throughout her battle. Kim, we’re so happy you and your family came to share your story.

Ofelia Munez

Ofelia, with her family by her side, has been fighting Lung cancer since last spring. Surgery, recovery and chemo left her very tired with much pain and sadness. A knock on her door from the Pink Out team ushered in a new season of joy and hope. She not only received financial assistance to ease some burdens of bills and Christmas shopping, but immense encouragement and a real sense of community as well.

It was a treat to hear Ofelia deliver her story in Spanish, then her daughter Kristen Vega, translated in English adding her own perspective. She was a 2017 graduate of Jenison High School who sat in these bleachers just a few years ago – never imagining she would be standing on this gym floor with her own family some day. She is so thankful to Pink Out for all the support her mom and family has received. Ofelia and Kristen, we are thankful for the opportunity to be of assistance during this time. May you keep the joy and hope you have found!

Jody Heyboer

Pink Out has been with Jody since the beginning of her cancer journey in 2017. She was an honoree of Jenison Pink Out in 2018 and she enjoyed participating in the event from the stands in 2019. This year, she’s back to share her ongoing story. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries describes the last two years for her and her family. And the journey is far from over. A new diagnosis has her starting chemotherapy again this week. The ongoing commitment from the Jenison Pink Out team helps her know that she’s not alone and definitely not forgotten. The theme for the Pink Out teeshirts this year includes an umbrella and she has definitely felt protection from the storm. Jody – we’re holding on tight with you during this rollercoaster ride! Keep choosing joy!

Zach Schab

Upon diagnosis of a brain cancer, Zach was no doubt aware that he would go through some major physical changes and challenges but he was shocked to feel the toll he would take emotionally and psychologically. Experiencing trauma creates a weight that is not easily carried alone. He makes a passionate case for helping your neighbor whether they are dealing with cancer or not. Thank you Zach for such a reminder that we all can give just a little bit of effort to offer a great amount of help.

“Thankfully as humans we are not a solitary species, we have the ability to lighten the load of everybody around us. As a community, we have the power to change lives and embolden others. And not just those who have struggled with cancer – everybody can use a little extra help.” Zach Schab, Brain cancer survivor

This evening is always so inspiring and I am proud to be a part of this community. Each year, this event serves as a celebration of those who fight tenaciously and takes time to pause for those that we remember.

Thank you so much to the community, students, businesses – everyone who has put forth a small effort to make a big change for those in our community who are suiting up for the fight of their lives. Hope is brought to these fighters by the community and we are going to walk every step alongside them until their storm runs out of rain!

Please visit the Jenison Pink Out Facebook page to watch the Live recording of the ceremony. The Pink Out game is jam packed with action – from games and ceremony to special performances. The full photo gallery can be found here.

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In its second year, “Senior Survivor” was able to bring in $8,600 to benefit Jenison Pink Out. Based on the television show, 9 senior students attempt to raise money and compete in challenges to remain in the game. Thank you to the school chaperones who spent the night at school with them, the local business who kept them fed and most of all their friends and family who cheered them on and supported their efforts!

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The YEAR ROUND dream team behind Jenison Pink Out! Words cannot express the level of gratitude I have for the leadership of our Pink Out committee: Moni Marlink, Cindi Covell, Katy Hevelhurst, Jean Krzewski, and Donna Bergeon. These are some caring, compassionate women on a mission to care for their neighbors whenever it is needed; they are making a huge impact! THANK YOU!!

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Principal, Jon Mroz accepts the Pink basketball in recognition of best Pink Out Spirit Day at Sandy Hill Elementary. Way to go kids little Wildcats!

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Lean on Me: Pink Out 2019

Last week, we were faced with yet another winter storm threatening to interrupt our annual Jenison Pink Out celebration. Regardless of what Michigan tried to throw at us, it gave me chills to see the the walls of our gymnasium stretched with a standing room only audience – just as it has been for eleven straight years.

Since the beginning, I have had the honor of being the emcee of Pink Out. I’ve heard the stories, witnessed firsthand the fight and seen the way families and friends in our community are moved to act. Just four months ago, that experience became very personal to me when my brother called to share that my sister-in-law had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Each year, we recognize community members who are courageous fighters, representing many others battling the war on cancer. All of them are extra-special reminders to our community of the value of bravery and perseverance. We are thankful for their willingness to share their stories and are blessed to walk this journey with them.

2019

Jenison Pink Out Honorees

Nicole Edward – Linda Ten Brink – Deb Leaf

Karine Rodriguez – Earl Hall – Josh Van Putten

2019 Pink Out Honorees

Linda Ten Brink

I asked my brother Mike and his wife, Linda TenBrink, to join the Jenison community for our Pink Out celebration because every warrior deserves to experience this amazing level of encouragement and support during their journey. And because Linda has embodied a fighter’s personality and a fierce courageousness from her initial diagnosis. She has looked cancer in the eye, called it out for what it is, and is determined to do whatever it takes to rid her body of “Chester” (the name that she has given to her cancerous tumor). Linda has used a tremendous sense of humor,  a “can do” attitude, and her competitive spirit to defeat this cancer that in her words, “invaded her body without her permission.” We are so proud of her warrior spirit!

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Karine Rodriguez and Earl Hall

Karine Rodriguez and Earl Hall are both cancer victims, living in the same home. Karine was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017, she went into remission the following year for 4 months. Sadly, the cancer returned this past summer. The after effects of chemo often leave her exhausted with scarce energy for work or social outings, so much that she was contemplating forgoing the treatment. However, since Pink Out came into her life – she has a renewed vigor to push through the treatments and is feeling supported (emotionally as well as financially) like never before. Keep on fighting, Karine! We’re with you every step of the way!

Karine was joined by her mom, Terri, who also attended Jenison, and Terri’s boyfriend Earl Hall. Earl had bladder cancer and is looking forward to a check up soon to confirm that the recent removal surgery was successful. Karine’s diagnosis flipped their world upside down. He expressed immense gratitude for the ongoing support from Pink Out and the manner of genuine care and kindness they felt. Earl has taken this kindness to heart and wishes to remind everyone that you never know what your neighbor might be experiencing. Kindness and respect go a long way. Thank you Karine and Earl for your positive spirit. It’s an honor to walk beside you.

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Nicole Edwards

Nicole Edwards is a survivor! Her husband, Brad and son, Brody (Jenison, class of 2017), some friends and family members stood by her side as she shared her story. With no family history, Nicole wasn’t too concerned about missing a few routine mammograms, however at the suggestion of her doctor, she finally decided to go in. Just over a year ago, she was diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma, stage 0, but aggressive grade three). She described feeling alone and isolated in those first few months but came to quickly realize that the Jenison community was on her side. The Pink Out team and relationships her family had built with other Jenison families through her son’s sports teams really carried them through the physically and emotionally tough times. Nicole feels very fortunate to be so close to one of the best health care systems in the United States! And she wishes to acknowledge and thank Lemmen Holton Cancer Center with their amazing doctors and support staff. We couldn’t agree more! She also wants to use her journey to remind women to make time for routine checks and conversations with physicians!!

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Deb Leaf

Deb is a 1985 Jenison graduate and has been on a long, courageous cancer journey including multiple diagnoses and surgeries. She is the guardian of her grandchildren, Stevie and LJ Leaf, who both attend Bauerwood Elementary. Deb was unaware of what Pink Out was and now considers them to be an amazing asset within our community, for which she is very grateful. Among other things, support from the organization and Jenison Schools helped provide tires for her vehicle and create some delightful memories this past Christmas. Deb was escorted by her grandchildren, her parents, her sister & her husband and her sister-in-law. Thank you Deb, for your fearless and brave demeanor as you continue your journey.

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Josh VanPutten

“Van Putten Strong” is embroidered on the back of Kim Van Putten’s denim shirt. She wore it one year ago when the family gathered on the Jenison gym floor for their son, Shawn. Shawn was a 2014 graduate of Jenison, and last year he shared about his cancer journey. Harnessing that strength more than ever, they tackled the last year and she wore the shirt this past Friday night as the family stands on the Pink Out floor AGAIN this year. This time, celebrating the remission of son, Josh, Jenison class of 2010.

While the family was participating in the 2018 Pink Out ceremony, 11 months after Shawn’s diagnosis, older brother Josh had spent the day in the hospital about to receive his own life changing diagnosis.

Josh opened his remarks with the phrase, “An individual does not get cancer, a family does.” In the first moments of the diagnosis, his thoughts went to his infant daughter and his family – would they be ok? would they be strong enough to go through this all again? And here they stand in 2019, celebrating 4 months of remission for Josh, wanting to share the news that cancer did not win this battle, THEY did.

Their spirits were constantly lifted by the presence of the Pink Out team. The motto “No One Fights Alone” is a perfect description of their experience with Pink Out. Josh appreciates the assistance he received to keep his daughter and newly purchased home taken care of – and cherishes the support his extended family received as they cared for him.

“Pink is not a color I normally wear but I wear it tonight with pride and gratitude. Thank you for supporting Pink Out so they are able to support the Warriors.”

137500997d1b3a07dbb560673023caa4562c90131375010333b7e7bea1bb04a709824f6835b37009Without the community members, business partners and students of our community being deeply involved, we couldn’t do what we do for those who need help in their fight against cancer. Jenison has shown up for eleven straight years and given tremendous support. From the depths of my heart, I say, Thank you! Your presence, your generosity, and your willingness to walk alongside the courageous fighters in our community is a wonderful gift! There is no gesture too small – purchasing a shirt, donating funds, volunteering, and just showing up at Pink Out says we care and we have your back!  That is their gift; this is our legacy. In our community, nobody fights alone!

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The Jenison Men’s Basketball teams have been very busy this month as well. Varsity Coach, Dominic Allen detailed a new free throw shooting competition they hosted as a fundraiser opportunity. The players secured pledges and proudly presented $6,300 to Pink Out, over double their original goal! The players also braved the beginning of the polar vortex at the end of January to get the Pink Out flags up along Baldwin Street.13749889a4c39321ee7e5510451b129d1ee6e294

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This year, 3 sophomore girls launched a new Jenison tradition called “Senior Survivor”. Based on the television show, senior students attempt to raise money and compete in challenges to remain in the game. They had an amazing amount of fun and were proud to present a check for $5,419.14 to Jenison Pink Out. Thank you to the school chaperones who spent the night at school with them, the local business who kept them fed and most of all their friends and family who cheered them on and supported their efforts!137501524b250aec81c40c785df4903db57f30d2

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Words cannot express the level of gratitude I have for the leadership of our YEAR ROUND Pink Out committee: Moni Marlink, Katy Hevelhurst, Jean Krzewski, Donna Bergeon and Cindi Covell. These are some caring, compassionate women on a mission to care for their neighbors whenever it is needed; they are making a huge impact! THANK YOU!!137501152a8fc80a74ad4e09f24177e98b6dcf24

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Pink may be the color of the night, but we’re proud to support courageous fighters of all kinds of cancer! The Jenison Pink Out organization makes sure that NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE!!

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Seniors, Zac Avery and Conner Wood, close the ceremony by performing this year’s Pink Out theme song “Lean on Me”.

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Principal, Luke VerBeek accepts the Pink basketball in recognition of best Pink Out Spirit Day at Rosewood Elementary. Way to go kids – Rosewood Rocks!

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Read about past Pink Out Honorees on previous PINK OUT blogs:

2018 |2017 | 2016 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

Pink Out 2018!

There may have been a snow day last Friday, but it didn’t stop the Jenison family from coming out to paint the High School gym pink!

Celebrating the tenth anniversary, the Pink Out committee chose to expand their focus to include honoring Jenison community members dealing with other types of cancer, while acknowledging that their roots remain in the fight against breast cancer. In the ten years since Pink Out began, they have raised over $100,000, recognized over 100 warriors and sold 15,000 Pink Out t-shirts.

Karen Koekkoek knows what it’s like to fight against breast cancer but she never expected it to happen again after finding her first lump at the age of nineteen. Now in her early 60’s, she was vigilant with her mammograms, self-checks, and doctor’s appointments. But despite her best efforts, she was diagnosed in August of 2016 and the type of cancer she had was called, “aggressive and invasive”. She received chemo for five months, radiation five days a week for six weeks and has experienced the first part of a double mastectomy. Karen’s daughter, Sherrie VanManen, says it’s a “huge honor” to be recognized by the Pink Out team and to be taken under their wing with support. Karen adds, “Faith over fear quickly became my motto. February of 2018, 125 appointments later, I am a survivor, cancer free!” We celebrate with you, Karen!

2010 Jenison graduate, Marcy VanderMeer was a senior when Pink Out first began. She was only 22 when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in April 2015. “It feels overwhelming to be an honoree. I am thankful to the committee for all the ways they supported me and my family.” In the first six weeks after hearing the news, Marcy says she was in shock but there was already so much happening in the Jenison community. There was a spaghetti dinner and chili cook-off fundraiser and even a neighborhood elementary buddy raising money for Marcy’s treatment. “Although fear was present in my life and I lost many friends along my three year journey, being part of this community has made all the difference in my ability to keep moving forward.”

Unfortunately, children in our community are not immune to cancer’s reach. Sam Lewinski is a four year old at the ECC and Shawn VanPutten is a 2014 Jenison graduate, both of whom are in remission. Shawn says, “Jenison Pink Out has offered support to me and my family during our journey: cards to let me know they were thinking of me, texts to my mom to let her know she was not alone and to provide words of encouragement. They also provided financial assistance for my ever-mounting medical bills, so thank you for supporting the power of pink because the warriors need to know that no one fights alone.”

Sam’s mom spoke on his behalf while Sam stood proudly on the podium. Through tears, she described their journey with Wilms Tumor, a kidney cancer and thanked the community for surrounding them through this struggle. “Just nine months ago, Sam finished his final chemo and was told there is no evidence of disease. During his treatment, he had several surgeries, radiation, and chemo. During that time, this community proved itself time and time again. We moved from Ohio ten years ago and I can truly say that this battle could not have been fought three hours from family without this community and the Pink Out community that showed up even we didn’t know them. We can now call Jenison our home and our family.”

Finally, warrior Jody Heyboer shared her journey with stage three colorectal cancer. Less than a year ago, Jody learned the news of her diagnosis and she quickly heard from the Pink Out team and “for the past ten months ,their support has been nothing short of amazing. When you don’t have cancer or are not directly affected by it, it’s hard to understand. Pink Out understands. Please know, the money you donate to this organization goes to help people in the community affected by cancer and I cannot being to express my gratitude for all those connected to Pink Out.” Jody learned in January that her tests revealed no evidence of disease, however, her fight against cancer isn’t over just yet. As of two days prior to Pink Out she learned cancer had returned and the Pink Out committee presented her with a check towards her medical expenses and reminded her that she is not alone.

Each year, this event serves as a celebration of those who warrior on and takes time to pause for those that we remember. We are grateful to all of those who braved the snow, but especially to those who brave the fight against cancer!

2018 Distinguished Honorees:

Dave Huyser           Sam Lewinski          Jody Heyboer          Marcy VanderMeer          Karen Koekkoek         Shawn VanPutten

Warriors: Karen Koekkoek, Marcy VanderMeer, Jody Heyboer, Sam Lewinski, Shawn VanPutten, Dave Huyser

You are all warriors and Jenison is proud to fight alongside each and every one of you! You are not alone! Thank you, Jenison community for your ongoing support of Pink Out – your partnership is vital to sustaining our warriors!

 

 

Stand By You: Pink Out 2017

miii3935The High School gym was, once again, a sea of pink on Friday night as the Jenison community showed their support for those fighting the battle of breast cancer.

This year, there were eight honorees: Jill Barnes, Jane Carlson, Carolyn DeJong, Dianne Duch, Michelle Gradisher, Shirley Kerkstra, Joni Otto, and Stephanie Tuttle [not necessarily pictured in this order].

miii3411For Michelle [3rd from right], she was overwhelmed by being an honoree but once she arrived to the “pinked out” gym that night and started getting to know some of the other honorees, those fears were gone. Michelle was diagnosed through a mammogram that she desperately wanted to avoid that particular day but chose to go through with it. The office was calling her to return to the hospital before she even got home that day. On March 31 of last year she underwent a double mastectomy which she describes as a “no brainer” based on the test results and family history of breast cancer. She is incredibly thankful for her amazing support team and encourages women not to avoid those important mammogram appointments!

miii3660Joni Otto [1st on the left] was a Jenison teacher for 22 years and is thankful for the science and availability of genetic testing, which she believes is a gift we all need to take advantage of. Joni discovered she had breast cancer and opted for the lumpectomy. Meanwhile, she had genetic testing done which revealed she was at a high risk for breast cancer, so she chose to go a step further and have a bilateral mastectomy to prevent any further occurrences which seemed likely in light of the test results. It wasn’t an easy decision for Joni but she felt that it was the right thing to do to protect herself and her family. She is hoping that her former students will dig deep into their pockets to donate to the Pink Out cause on her behalf!

miii3685Stephanie and Shirley [3rd and 4th from the left respectively] are daughter and mother honorees and Stephanie also says that genetic testing is an essential and lifesaving aspect to her story as well. Her mom Shirley is a breast cancer survivor [and three time honoree!] and Stephanie didn’t want her family to go through another season of cancer. She believes her mom feels guilty for passing on the gene but she also sees genetic testing as a gift, especially when it revealed the BRCA gene which can lead to breast and ovarian cancers. She also urges readers to consider genetic testing if you have a family history of breast cancer as the preventative measures “are much better than going through treatment.”

[If you’d like to explore genetic testing, you can do so locally at Spectrum Health. Please note – this is not an endorsement, merely a local resource.]

miii3680Three of our honorees discovered their cancer through self exams and took a moment in their introductions to make sure and encourage women in the audience to remember to do this. Everyone stressed the importance of regular mammograms and the Spectrum Health mobile mammography unit was in the parking lot, available for tours!

miii3770Finally, High School Principal, Dr. Brandon Graham, introduced Cindi Sigmon as a special honoree. Cindi has been battling Multiple Myleloma since January 2016. “She has undergone numerous rounds of chemotherapy and received a stem cell transplant this summer” and “for the past 21 years, she has shown love to the students, staff, community members and parents that have traversed the halls of Jenison High School.” Cindi was escorted to the floor by her husband and received a standing ovation for her courage, service, and strength.

All of our Pink Out Honorees are extra-special reminders to our community of the value of perseverance and we thank them for being willing to come forward and share their stories. May you and your support teams know how important you are to all of us!

Thank you to all of the Pink Out volunteers, financial supporters, and participants who came out last Friday to make this another great year! It’s a powerful message we send each year to those who are struggling as well as those have suffered a loss. Together, we will Stand By You. We are Jenison!

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Pink Out 2016: Count On Me

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Once again the Jenison community came out in droves to support those in our community surviving and thriving in the face of breast cancer. Eight Jenison women in different stages of their fight were honored in a gym that was filled to capacity with supporters and fellow fighters.

MIII6934The women’s basketball team kicked off the athletic festivities in what seemed like it would be a dramatic come-from-behind victory against Lowell. But, despite a win not being in the cards for the women, it was still a great day to be a Wildcat!

In between the basketball games the crowd was introduced to Sister Sue Tracy who is a five-time cancer survivor and she shared a special word of encouragement meant to remind each one of us to “Celebrate Life”! She had the entire gym cheering out the letters for her message including:

MIII6742Count your blessing, not your worries. Express your feelings honestly. Learn to laugh and laugh to learn. Endure what is necessary. Be open and flexible. Remain in charge, networking with family and doctors. Accept and face your own mortality. Treasure each day and each experience. Exercise your mind body and spirit as you are are able.

Sr. Sue has been fighting three different types of cancer over the last 30 years. She says that cancer has made her glad to be alive and sensitive to others. “We all belong to this club that no one would ever want to be part of but here we are. I have found cancer to be much more life-giving even in the midst of being life-threatening. There have been opportunities to deepen in wisdom and it helps us to focus our priorities, to be empathetic to others, a compassion that comes because we don’t have any certainty about a long, long life. I only have today and what can I be and do in that. An event like this calls us all together in support and the Jenison support of each other is remarkable and very special.”

MIII6510The honorees of this year’s Pink Out are: Sharon Aalderink, Karen Meyers, Paula Bowen, Kristin Millard, Shirley Kerkstra, April Spohn, Jill LaMaire and Brandi Tyler [not pictured in this order]

They were all introduced to the crowd and walked across the bridge with family members by their side. Some of them were very recently diagnosed and facing the journey ahead while other honorees are survivors with cancer in their rear view mirrors and words of encouragement for those around them. Their introductions also gave them the chance to say “thank you” to friends, coworkers and family members for their love, meals, fundraisers and prayers.

MIII7034Other highlights from the entire Pink Out event included: the Jenison JV and Varsity Dance Team performing to “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars, pink ice at the varsity hockey game, a raucous high school assembly at the end of the school day and, of course, a sea of pink everywhere you looked throughout the district. A special “thank you” to the Lowell community as well for sharing in our special day and we tip our hats to your Pink Arrow event during football season!

Eleven year survivor, Shirley Kerkstra, says that if she could tell those with a new diagnosis anything it is, “You make it. It’s an emotional roller coaster but you make it.”

Thank you to all of our volunteers, sponsors, supporters and of course, our honorees, for making this event such a special day for the district. And remember, no matter where you are on the journey you can Count On Me. We Are Jenison!

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Pink Out 2015

View More: http://staceyclackphotography.pass.us/jenison-pink-out

February in Jenison is so much more than snow, freezing temperatures and Valentine’s Day.  Here, for us, it’s PINK OUT season!

The girls and boys basketball teams and the hockey team were all decked in pink [there was even pink ice at the Georgetown Ice Arena!], the pep band’s tunes filled the room and everywhere there was pink.  Last Friday a standing-room only, full-to-capacity crowd helped honor those fighting and overcoming battles with Breast Cancer.  There were 10 honorees from the Jenison community, all in different stages of their Breast Cancer journeys but all humbled by the opportunity to be recognized for their bravery and courage.  With a presentation hosted by Tom TenBrink in between the basketball games we learned about the history of PINK OUT and took some time to look around the crowd and realize the widespread impact of Breast Cancer on all of our lives.

Jan, Patti, Laura + Kim

Jan, Patti, Laura + Kim

Four of those honored are from the Bauerwood family and jokingly call themselves “Breast Friends.”  Jan Stayley and Laura Wisneski are Bauerwood teachers [Jan also teaches at Rosewood and Pinewood] and Patti Menichini and Kim Francis are parents of Bauerwood students.  All four of them were diagnosed within two years of each other and have made it a goal to come alongside each other throughout every stage of diagnosis and treatment.

View More: http://staceyclackphotography.pass.us/jenison-pink-out“This isn’t a group you want to join but if you have to, this is a good one to be in.” says Laura.  They encourage each other in small ways that have never felt small.  They spend time together over dinner, send supportive emails, cook meals for each other’s families, send flowers or texts or notes of encouragement during the day and a trademark of this group you can’t miss: humor.  Jan participated in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in San Francisco where she came bearing a check for $10,000 raised by the community. “Everybody helped out [with fundraising]…our school family, the JPS family, everybody.” And Jan didn’t walk alone — she was joined by fellow teachers from Bauerwood!  They also took time during the walk to spread the love and encouragement to Laura as she was in the middle of her treatment, helping her to be part of the group three time zones away.

Patti notes that they are the “friends you would’ve never been friends with if you didn’t have this common connection and we’ll always have that.  You don’t realize you live in a small town until you need to be encouraged by a small town and then you never want to leave.  No one was ever pushy.  You were alone when you wanted to be alone and you were scooped up when you needed to be.” — Patti

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Jan shares that she “personally doesn’t like to be known as a “survivor”. “I am a woman who has had Breast Cancer and now I can lend my efforts to somebody else. But we all want to say “thank you” and this event is the perfect way to do that.”  All of the Breast Friends want to encourage anyone who is walking alongside a friend or family member with a Breast Cancer diagnosis to join the fight by cleaning their house, making a meal, sending a funny card and although, at times, it does seem excruciating, there’s another side to it and they “want to be examples of the positive.”

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All of the honorees were visably touched by the applause and support from the crowd.  The other amazing women being honored last Friday were:  Michelle Telemaque, Nancy Van Duinen, Sue Kirvan, Cathie Corstange, Colleen Cusick and Doris Bowen.  Many of these women took the opportunity of their introduction to encourage women to perform self exams and get their yearly mammograms.  They were all escorted across the bridge to embrace the theme of “I’ll Be Your Bridge” by family members.

During Tom’s welcome we were reminded why we were there and taking time to honor those who fought Breast Cancer and are still fighting:  “Who comes and why? Some people come to be honored, some people come to be supported, some come to show their support, some come to perform, some come to watch, some come to remember a loved one but one thing’s for sure:  Everyone who enters leaves with a heart filled with love on a cold winter night in February in Jenison.  This is our PINK OUT.  This is the time when our community  comes together to remember those taken, to honor the survivors and support the fighters.  This is neighbors helping neighbors…”

Thank you to everyone involved in PINK OUT, especially our honorees.  Your courage is inspiring and we stand with you.  We are Jenison!

View More: http://staceyclackphotography.pass.us/jenison-pink-out

View More: http://staceyclackphotography.pass.us/jenison-pink-out

Tom can dance! [And wear a boa!?]

Tom can dance! [And wear a boa!?]

Cam McKinnon, JHS student who is fighting bone cancer and postponed his last chemo treatment on Friday to play in the PINK OUT Pep Band. An inspiring young man.

Cam McKinnon, JHS student who is fighting bone cancer and postponed his last chemo treatment on Friday to play in the PINK OUT Pep Band. An inspiring young man.

View More: http://staceyclackphotography.pass.us/jenison-pink-out

View More: http://staceyclackphotography.pass.us/jenison-pink-out

We are Jenison!

We are Jenison!

 

Jenison Shines at PINK OUT

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It was standing room only in the High School gym last Friday as the community came together with our Jenison schools and families to celebrate and honor those affected and overcoming Breast Cancer.  The crowd was awash with bright pink t-shirts, the Jenison basketball teams wore pink jerseys and the student section was not without a few hot pink feather boas and tutus!

The PINK OUT began five years ago to honor the parent of a girls basketball player and it’s easy to see why this event has grown to such impressive proportions.  In between the girls and boys games Mr. TenBrink hosted a special program to honor thirteen women from the Jenison community who are in various stages of their Breast Cancer journey’s.  Each woman had a banner hanging high with their name on it and they were each thoughtfully introduced and escorted onto the court by friends or family to supportive applause.  Some of the women were Jenison employees, others were community members with grown children, but each was welcomed, cheered and the encouragement could be felt from the crowd.

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Each honoree was asked to share one word that describes the response they’ve experienced from the Jenison community and some of the inspiring words were humbling, caring, supportive, blessing, outstanding, embrace and thank you.

One honoree, Shirley Kerkstra, has been cancer free for nine years and was excited to be asked to both ride the PINK OUT  float at Homecoming as well as be honored at the game.  “It’s exciting to meet other survivors!”  Another special honoree was Shonta Frody who was diagnosed as a freshman while at Jenison High School.  Now, three years later she is cancer free and having her as part of the honorees was especially important to her good friend and fellow senior, Alexis Harley-Bowman, who says, “It’s good for the community that we come out to support everyone who is going through this.”  Luke Krombeen [senior] agrees and says, “I think everybody in the community is affected and it’s important to raise money for people.”

Funds raised through the sale of PINK OUT t-shirts as well as donation buckets that were passed will be donated directly to members of the community fighting Breast Cancer and facing incredible medical expenses.  High School Principal, Dr. Brandon Graham says, “It’s a great community event.  You see the support for one another throughout the community.”

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Shonta’s mom shares her gratitude for the support and love from the community.

“PINK OUT has a rich and historic tradition in the Jenison community. The support for this event has grown exponentially over the past six years. Each year those in charge of PINK OUT have sold more t-shirts, involved more people, and attracted larger crowds. This past Friday night, we certainly “Witnessed the Power of Pink,” as almost 3,000 people stuffed themselves into the high school gymnasium. Even though we ran out of parking spaces and seats and the temperatures soared, the attitude of those in attendance expressed nothing less than support for those whom everyone came to honor.  I have never been more proud of the Jenison community than I was on Friday night. To feel the genuine love and support being shown for those who have found themselves in a difficult fight against an ugly disease, cancer, was overwhelming. Participating in PINK OUT for the past six years, has been one of the most memorable and meaningful experiences of my life. As I said at the end of the PINK OUT Celebration, we should never ever forget that Together, We are Jenison!” — Tom TenBrink

PINK OUT pride!

PINK OUT pride!

Jenison lost 55 - 51 to GR Christian but it was hard fought!

Jenison lost 55 – 51 to GR Christian but it was hard fought!

Senior Supporters Luke Krombeen & Alexis Harley-Bowman

Senior Supporters Luke Krombeen & Alexis Harley-Bowman

Jenison Dance Team performs to “You’re an Overcomer” by Mandisa

Celebrating Life at the 2013 Pink Out

Amidst the swirling flakes of a winter storm and with threats of a February white out, Jenison community members packed the house for their 5th Annual Pink Out!

Jenison High School, Jenison Pink Out, Jenison Public Schools

Superintendent TomTenBrink formally opened the festivities with words of hope:

“Cancer is a six letter word that evokes denial, disbelief, questioning, and anger. And if you’ve ever received this diagnosis, you know these feelings all too well.

…And even though we’ve lost two very special ladies from our community, Brenda Huyser and Lori Stabile, we’re not here to memorialize them. We’re here to celebrate life. We’re here to honor the taken, to encourage those fighting the battle right now, and to continue fighting for a cure!”

Jenison High School, Jenison Pink Out, Jenison Public Schools

With the help of JHS winter athletes bearing pink and white flags, seven Jenison women were chaperoned into the gymnasium in honor of their battle against that “six letter word.” Accompanied by loved ones, the women shared their stories personally or had them read aloud on their behalf.

“If you had told me a year ago that I’d be standing here talking about breast cancer, I would not have believed you. Last August I had my mammogram; an hour and a half later I received a phone call saying I needed a biopsy, and six days later I had a diagnosis. I had breast cancer,” Mary Visser opened.

“But the miracle of my story is that the encologist caught it at 0.05 cm in diameter — that’s equivalent to a grain of salt! The Jenison community was with me through it all. The meals, cards, prayers, and Patty Diekevers‘ monster cookies were medicine to my soul.”

Jenison High School, Jenison Pink Out, Jenison Public Schools

Mary Visser shares her breast cancer story.

Mary’s message of early detection paired perfectly with the presence of the Betty Ford Mobile Mammogram offering affordable services just outside the high school doors. This theme resounded through the night, underscoring the need for self-examinations, mammograms, and timely doctor’s visits, and early treatment.

The Jenison community has always rallied around its own, giving generously at Thanksgiving and Christmas and beyond. How fortunate that our Pink Out game is no different: we are pleased to announce that over the past five years, over $50,000 has been raised to help support families right here in our zip code who are struggling under the weight of oppressive medical bills.

Jenison High School, Jenison Pink Out, Jenison Public Schools

Courtney DeWent spoke on behalf of her mother Tracy DeWent who was recently diagnosed with the disease. Her words captured the feelings of so many women who have walked this road before her:

“Thank you to everyone for all the prayers and for everything you’ve done for us. People we don’t even know have encouraged us. We’re so lucky to be a part of a community like Jenison!”

Thank you to all who came out in support of the Pink Out! Together, we are Jenison!

Jenison High School, Jenison Pink Out, Jenison Public Schools

The Jenison High School Dance Team performs to Rascal Flatts “I Won’t Let Go” in honor of those with cancer and those who walk the road with them.