Photo courtesy Safeway

Photo courtesy Safeway

This year, Safeway is the presenting sponsor of The Drive, a charity golf event June 27 at Suncadia’s Tumble Creek golf course that suppports cancer research at Seattle Children’s Hospital (425 Business is a media sponsor of The Drive). The grocery company has been donating to Seattle Children’s since the 1950s through company grants, employee giving, and product donations. This year, the grocer is asking for support from the public with a pin-pad campaign at its checkout stands.

All Safeway and Albertsons stores in Washington and Alaska will feature Strong Against Cancer marketing material at checkout stands, combined with a request for donations when customers use the pin pad. Those in charge of the promotion, running through July, hope to raise more than $1 million for child cancer immunotherapy research.

In addition to the promotion at checkout, shoppers will be able to purchase purple Strong Against Cancer wristbands for a $3 donation, or purchase a Strong Against Cancer teddy bear, complete with purple cape and mask.

The bear is new to Strong Against Cancer this year, and Safeway will donate a shipment of bears to Seattle Children’s. The bears will be delivered to children who receive re-engineered T cells as part of immunotherapy treatment.

Catherine Lindgren, director of quality assurance on the therapeutic cell production core team at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, came up with the idea for the teddy bear.

When a child undergoes immunotherapy at Seattle Children’s, a selection of T cells is harvested and re-engineered at the hospital’s research institute. When the cells are ready to be reintroduced to the child, researchers personally deliver them.

Now, a teddy bear will be delivered to children with their engineered cells to provide something tangible for the young patients and to mark the occasion.

“Our hope is that the teddy bear will provide comfort and will also acknowledge the tremendous milestone of receiving this groundbreaking therapy that could make a difference in their lives. We also hope that the teddy bear will help connect patients to the generous community of donors who support them and their therapy through Strong Against Cancer,” Lindgren said.

The bears also will be available for purchase at Safeway and Albertsons stores through July, and possibly longer, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Strong Against Cancer.

The first Drive event was in 2014, when NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson joined forces to give back to the Seattle community. To date, the event has raised more than $660,000, benefitting Seattle Children’s Hospital through the Strong Against Cancer foundation, as well as the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Wilson’s Why Not You Foundation, and the Kasey Kahne Foundation.

This year, the third-annual, two-day event already is sold out, and will take place later this month at Tumble Creek at Suncadia Resort.

This article appeared in the June 2016 issue of 425 Business.