GR health care worker shines light on access to clean water

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A health care worker in West Michigan is not only working on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic, but she’s also raising awareness about another important issue: access to clean water.

Rebecca VandeGriend has served thousands of patients across Michigan as a physician assistant. On Saturday, she’s continuing her life-saving efforts by leading West Michiganders in a virtual 6K race to raise money for clean water around the world.

The organization she is behind is called World Vision, a group that tackles issues such as poverty.

VandeGriend traveled to Africa in 2018 to shine a light on the issue as well as meet some of the children that the organization is sponsoring.

She says the race on Saturday is a 6K instead of a 5K because that’s how long the average distance is for someone to have to walk to have access to clean water.

VandeGriend says this need is crucial during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I think everything going on has kind of reminded us of those basics of hygiene right, so we’ve known from early on wash your hands for clean hygiene, but it’s a good reminder for all of us now with COVID situation that we need to practice those things,” said VandeGriend.

So far, VandeGriend’s team has raised about $4,000 this year for World Vision. In the past, her and her daughter together have fundraised nearly $100,000 dollars for the cause.