http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2011/10/07/safeway-launches-breast-cancer-fundraising-initiative


Pleasanton Weekly

- October 7, 2011

Safeway launches breast cancer fundraising initiative

2nd of 2 major nationwide cancer research efforts by Pleasanton-based company

by Jeb Bing

Safeway Inc., headquartered in Pleasanton, this week launched its annual October chain-wide breast cancer fundraising initiative.

The company has raised more than $94 million for the cause since 2001. The funds benefit leading-edge breast cancer research projects at some of North America's top cancer centers as well as a range of nonprofit organizations focused on new treatments, raising awareness and enabling early detection, said Larree Renda, Safeway executive vice president, president of Safeway Health Inc. and chair of the Safeway Foundation.

"More than 230,000 women in the U.S. alone will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year," she said. "Thanks to the engagement and generosity of our employees, customers and suppliers, we are funding projects and programs that will continue to have a meaningful impact on breast cancer cure rates."

Each October, Safeway's nearly 1,700 stores in the U.S. and Canada, including those in Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley, become rallying points for breast cancer fundraising activities. In addition to providing customers with opportunities to donate at the check stand, Safeway and a number of its suppliers get involved by donating $5 for every $30 spent on products with special pink ribbon tags. Safeway also sells special pink breast cancer reusable bags of which a dollar from each sale goes to the cause.

Renda said Safeway employees are known for their enthusiasm and support, which make all of this possible. During the campaign, stores and employees are often decked out in pink decoration and attire. Employees often volunteer their time and talents to raise money for the cause. Some employees make cookies for bake sales while others volunteer on their own time to join walks, such as the Susan G. Komen races to bring awareness to the cause.

Safeway fundraising has made the following possible:

* Safeway joined forces with UC San Francisco's Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center to launch BreastCancerTrials.org nationwide. The site provides a matching service that enables patients to find trials personalized to their situations. It includes patient-friendly trial information for over 500 trials under way at more than 1,500 medical facilities across the country.

* More than 150,000 women will participate in the Safeway-funded Athena Breast Health Network, collaboration between the five University of California medical centers, the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies and the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Athena's goal is to revolutionize the course of care by designing and implementing new approaches to research, technology and health care delivery. Participants will be followed for years to come.

* The I-SPY 2 TRIAL, a breast cancer research project managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health Biomarkers Consortium, is changing the paradigm for the development of new breast cancer drugs. Today, most breast cancer drugs work for only 30-50% of the patients for whom they are prescribed, and developing each drug typically takes many years, involves thousands of patients and costs well over $1 billion.

The money raised through Safeway's campaign also funds mobile mammography units in a range of geographies for women who otherwise would not have had access to this important tool for early detection. This outreach is made possible through the Safeway Foundation's partnership with the hospitals that operate the mammovans and provide the medical screenings. They include the Rose Foundation of Houston, Texas; the Nevada Health Centers Inc.; St. Joseph's Medical Center in Stockton; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Washington State; Providence Alaska Medical Center; Exempla-St. Joseph's Hospital of Denver, Colo.; and George Washington University Hospital of Washington, D.C.

Safeway's Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser is the second of two annual cancer campaigns. Each June Safeway raises money to fight prostate cancer, one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in men. To date, the company has raised nearly $170 million for cancer causes. However, cancer research is just one of the many important causes the company supports each year. Safeway contributes to a broad range of charitable and community programs and in 2010 donated more than $200 million to education, hunger relief, health and human services and programs focused on assisting people with disabilities.

The company operates stores under the Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Dominick's, Genuardi's, Carrs and Pak 'N Save banners.

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