SpendMend Team Members Attend Van Andel Institute Lunch and Learn

SpendMend Team Members Attend Van Andel Institute Lunch and Learn

Written by: Hannah Geelhoed, Web/Graphic Developer and HR Assistant

In April, I had the opportunity to attend a Lunch and Learn at the Van Andel Institute (VAI) with another member of the SpendMend team, Colleen Kretowitcz. During this event, we got to hear Dr. Carrie Graveel, Senior Breast Cancer Research scientist, and Dr. Matt Steensma, Associate Professor at VAI, Section Chief of Orthopedic Oncology Spectrum Health, speak about the research projects currently happening in their lab and how they are using the funds that are raised from the Bee Brave 5k. We also got to meet researchers and students, tour the labs, and learn about the individual projects each of the researchers and students is tasked with.

(Image shows Hannah with one of the scientists holding a rat’s breast cancer filled mammary gland)

The VAI labs are so beautifully designed, laid out, and stocked with all the greatest technology to help aid in the incredible research going on in the labs. One of the highlights of the tour was getting to see the cell counter and microscope that were purchased using the funds from the Bee Brave 5k. (see below)


Over the past 5+ years, SpendMend has been participating in the VAI’s Annual Bee Brave 5K by sponsoring, donating, and walking/running in the event and raising a total of over $35K! This year we got to join the Bee Brave leaders, other team captains, and survivors in presenting last year’s event check to the VAI. It was a special moment to hand the “big check” to the VAI with a bunch of the people that work so hard to make it all happen.

If you would like to join us in this year’s fundraising efforts or would like to learn more about the VAI, please visit: https://purplecommunity.vai.org/bee-brave/

Read about our past Bee Brave Experience here: https://www.spendmend.com/spendmend-dedicates-bee-brave-5k-fundraiser-to-team-member/