At the Ballard Fred Meyer, Fred Meyer associates presented a check for more than $65,000 to the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The sales-based donation funds were a result of the Kroger Company’s annual campaign, Giving Hope a Hand.
The program is hosted during the month of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Giving Hope a Hand works with vendors by allowing them floor and ad space to promote their products adorned with the pink ribbon. The donation is then made from the lift in sales vendors observe during the month.
Since the program began in 2006, Giving Hope a Hand has raised over $20 million to assist the fight against breast cancer.
“We have amazingly supportive customers and associates who recognize the importance of the community programs that we have,” said Amanda Ip, Fred Meyer spokesperson. “We are fortunate to work for a company that has values and takes very seriously the community that we work and live in. We try and keep our support very local so that it benefits the customers that come through our doors.”
Seventy-five percent of the donation funds will be utilized locally through education, patient assistance and breast-cancer screening. The remaining 25 percent will go toward research at local facilities, including the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Cheryl Shaw, executive director of Komen Puget Sound, was diagnosed a little over a year after she assumed her position at Komen. As a breast-cancer survivor, she understands the impact the organization has on the community.
“Coming to Komen Puget Sound has been very eye opening to how generous the corporate community is and how creative they are in terms of using their business to educate the community and also support the nonprofits in the community,” she said.
Shaw stresses a couple other aspects that the donation aids, which most people do not recognize: patient-assistant funds and patient navigation.
Through patient navigation, those diagnosed with breast cancer are able to better understand the challenges they face. A variety of resources are provided for patients to speak with for more information or general support through the process. With patient-assistant funds, women going through treatment who are also struggling to put food on the table or supply rent money due to medical costs are able to support themselves and their families.
“I am humbled to be in the role that I am in right now at this time in my life because I can speak to what we do as a survivor,” Shaw said. “I can be a strong advocate to those who are experiencing their journey through breast cancer … People know us because of the race. We are deeper than the race.”
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