Soccer games to fund girl’s memorial scholarship

Kent County

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — Outside Cedar View Elementary, painted rocks honor the memory of two students lost: Emma Orr, who died of cancer in September 2017, and Cora Gonzales.

Cora was crossing M-57 in Oakfield Township when she was hit by a vehicle on Oct. 6, 2017. She died in the hospital a few weeks later. She was 11 years old.

“It’s (a) devastating loss. … Our hearts just ache,” Anna Nozkowski told 24 Hour News 8 Monday. “She was just this sweet girl who was just amazing. Everybody around her loved her.”

Anna Nozkowski is head of the youth soccer club in Cedar Springs and also a close friend of the Gonzales family. She knew this month would be especially hard on the family.

“We knew that the time was coming. It was going to be a difficult time. One of our board members had suggested, ‘let’s do a “purple out” game,'” Nozkowski said.

To honor Cora’s life, organizers created the “Get Some Purple” games, which they hope to make an annual event. The inaugural games will be held Oct. 20 at Boomer Park in Cedar Springs. Everyone is encouraged to wear purple, Cora’s favorite color.

“Above all, Cora was fun. She was just fun,” Nozkowski said. “She was a sweet kid. So we want to do something that’s fun. That will honor her memory.”

The games are free to watch, but money raised from concessions, a silent auction, purple soccer socks and more will go to support the Cora Gonzales Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“The goal of the fund is to provide kids who may not be able to afford to play soccer a means to be able to play,” Nozkowski said. “We just all loved Cora. We love the family. And this is just one small way that we can help them give back.”

Organizers are still looking for more businesses or individuals to donate items for the silent auction. You can email Michelle Tate at if you are able to help.

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