'Heels to Heal' 5k race to support good cause

By Stephanie Brzezinski | 9/18/13 5:19pm

Grand Valley State University and the Richard Paul Clodfelder Student Society for Physician Assistants will host the third annual Heels to Heal 5k event on the Allendale Campus Sept. 21 at 10 a.m. The event is open to both students and community members.

Courtney McCotter, president of the RPC Student Society at GVSU, is a graduate student in the
physician assistant masters program. The RPC Student Society requires its members to volunteer in
the community to maintain membership, she said, and the Heels to Heal event is one way they can
fulfill this requirement.

“This is a great opportunity to support groups that are beneficial to the Grand Rapids area,” McCotter
said. “We hope to raise as much money as possible.”

Donations for the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan will be collected at the event, which is
new this year, McCotter said. Some of the money from registration fees will go toward the RPC Student
Society, but the group voted to give the bulk of it to the Oasis of Hope Center.

“We wanted to give back to Oasis,” McCotter said. “They allow PA students to shadow their

The Oasis of Hope Center is a nonprofit, Christian-affiliated organization located in Grand Rapids that
operates under the slogan “Providing Hope in Jesus’ Name.”

“We are 100 percent community-supported financially,” said Barb Grinwis, executive director and
physician assistant for the center. “We keep people here for free.”

Grinwis said the organization is run by volunteers and provides free health care for people without
insurance who are below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. In other words, an individual making
less than $23,000 annually would qualify for care.

Oasis of Hope depends on the funding received from the Heels to Heal fundraiser event and the
volunteer work the RPC Student Society does at the center, Grinwis said.

The connection between the two organizations is a “long-standing relationship” that began in 2007,
and the RPC Student Society has collected over $8,000 at past events, Grinwis said. This year, she
hopes to raise more than that, but said any amount would help.

“We are grateful for anything that’s done for our benefit,” she said.

McCotter said the RPC Student Society started planning the event early in 2013. This year’s sponsors
include Gazelle Sports, Professional Metal Finishers and Spectrum Health.

At the race, there will be giveaways from the sponsors and raffle tickets will be sold for more prizes.

Kimberley Kline, a graduate student in the PA program and a member of the RPC Student Society, will
be participating in the race again this year after running the 5k for the first time last year.

“I’m participating in the event to raise awareness about the Oasis of Hope Clinic and the health care
opportunities the clinic provides to community members,” Kline said. “The clinic provides its services
in a friendly, religious-based environment that welcomes all patients regardless of religious

For more information about the Heels to Heal 5k event or to register, visit


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