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Published On: June 9th, 2014

MIKE COLEMAN PICTURE (1)Kalamazoo, Mich. – When playing baseball, sometimes the greatest of plays can make you feel like you are on top of the world. Almost to the point as if you feel invincible and the same can be said about life as well. But in either baseball or life, that feeling in a blink of an eye can turn from invincibility to vulnerability.

“I always had this very small feeling of invincibility and then my cancer completely changed all that,” said Mike Coleman, play-by-play announcer for the Kalamazoo Growlers.

On Friday night, inside what hopes to be a packed house at Homer Stryker Field, the Kalamazoo Growlers will host a Purple Night presented by Van Andel Institute. A night in which everything turns to purple, from the jerseys, base pads, foul ball lines and a purple logo in center field, with a portion of  the proceeds from the night going to help support the fight towards cancer research.

An amazing night that’s in store for the Growlers, but it has a lot more meaning for a part of the Growlers family, play-by-play announcer, Mike Coleman.

“The Purple Community Game is beneficial as knowledge is the power that can help families in so many ways, “said Coleman. “Awareness spurs knowledge and having the tools to find the resources is extremely vital.”

In 2004, shortly after him and his wife Tammy got married, Coleman noticed that he had a spot on his neck that was not going away. The spot turned out to be cancerous. The news of cancer went from bad to worse as in the middle of obtaining treatment for the cancerous spot, doctors found a mass on the base of his throat, which was diagnosed as a malignant tumor on his thyroid gland.

“My first thought in mind was how am I going to tell my parents?” said Coleman.

MIKE COLEMAN HEADSHOTThe good news, which you don’t hear often in a cancer story is that it was diagnosed in the early stages. Coleman successfully went through a surgery in which doctors had to remove his thyroid gland. After some radiation treatment, Coleman was and still is in perfectly good health. After defeating cancer, Coleman has a totally new outlook on life

“I have really grasped the seize the day mentality and try to gain as many life experiences as I can,” said Coleman.

Although Coleman defeated his cancer battle, Friday will not just be another baseball game for him as he watched both of his parents, Kay and Jim Coleman succumb to cancer within just 15 months of each other.

“It was hard to watch someone you love, struggle through the rigors and hardships that fighting cancer brings,” said Coleman.

Watching both of his parents struggle with cancer is one of the main reasons why Coleman is in the sports broadcasting business.

“I wondered if they had any unfinished dreams and unfulfilled aspirations,” said Coleman. “Seeing them going through their illness spurred me to take steps in pursuing my broadcasting career.”

Not only will Coleman being broadcasting this one of a kind event on Friday night, but he will also be part of the festivities as he will be throwing out the honorary first pitch. A feeling that Coleman will truly never forget.

“I will proudly stand and feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all of us gathering on Friday night,” said Coleman.

Make sure to get out to Homer Stryker Field on Friday, June 13 as the Growlers will take on the Rochester Honkers at 7:05 p.m. The Growlers will have a silent auction going on throughout the game for the game-worn purple jerseys by the Growlers. It is also our Walmart-Sam’s Club Fireworks and Flat Screen TV Giveaway, so stay after for a great fireworks show!