by Alan Babbitt
Jordan Hooker's drive to give cancer the boot comes from a person dear to the Hope College soccer player's heart.
The junior from Grand Rapids, Michigan (East Grand Rapids HS) has watched his mother bravely face cancer his entire life. Anne Hooker has battled cancer for 23 years since she was initially diagnosed with melanoma.
Three years ago, cancer returned and spread to her thyroid. Recently, the mother of six found out tumors were discovered in fluid on her lungs. She'll resume chemotherapy after surgery.
"My mom, she's done it all. She keeps pushing," Jordan Hooker said.
Photo provided by Jordan Hooker
Anne Hooker will be among many loved ones and friends on the minds of Hope College men's and women's soccer players participating in Saturday's Purple Community games at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.
The Purple Community games benefit Van Andel Institute, world-class cancer and, neurodegenerative research and science education organization, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At noon, the 15th-ranked Flying Dutch will face Capital University (Ohio). At 2:30 p.m., Jordan Hooker and the Flying Dutchmen will play Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (Indiana).
All proceeds will go to the Van Andel Institute and help fund a summer internship for a Hope College student to perform research in a Van Andel Institute laboratory. This summer, Hope senior, and biology major, Geordan Stukey had the opportunity to intern at the Van Andel Institute.
"What Van Andel Institute does is incredibly important," Jordan Hooker said. "You continue to hear stories of those impacted by cancer, so continuing the efforts to find a cure is important. It's awesome to be able to contribute by raising awareness and money for Van Andel Institute."
Anne Hooker is determined to watch her son play in the Purple Community games. Today, she undergoes surgery but plans to make it to Van Andel Soccer Stadium on Saturday.
"I'm going to be there. Jordan is an all-star to me. To be with my family and to know people care means everything," she said. "It's been a 23-year battle. I'm a survivor. I would not be so without my kids, my family and my faith. The power of prayer and family gets you through everything."