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PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway Inc. formally launched its annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Month fundraiser yesterday, with a celebration at the company's corporate headquarters.
A long-time supporter of prostate cancer research, the chain plans to raise $4 million during the month of June to help support the worldwide effort to find a cure. All Safeway-operated stores in the United States will participate, through customer and employee contributions, drawings, special product sales, and community support. In 2004, Safeway's employees and customers brought in a total of $3.3 million in donations.
"Prostate cancer is a significant health threat to men and has devastated many lives and many families," said Safeway e.v.p. Larree Renda. "One in six men will develop prostate cancer in the course of his lifetime. We want to do what we can to decrease that number and help find a cure. We believe a cure can be a reality, but only if everyone does his or her part. In addition to raising funds, of equal importance is raising awareness to educate the public about the importance of early detection and reducing the risk factors for prostate cancer."
This is the fifth consecutive year for the Safeway fundraiser, which has raised more than $8.3 million for research and treatment of the disease. The funds will be donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the world's largest philanthropic supporter of prostate cancer research and facilitator of grants to more than 1,200 researchers at 100 institutions worldwide.
Safeway provides customers with several opportunities to contribute to the cause. Shoppers can donate by purchasing a blue ribbon paper tag at check stands in Safeway stores. Stores are also selling blue "I'm helping cure prostate cancer" wristbands.
Along with fundraising, Safeway will be sharing facts about the disease with its customers through its weekly sales circulars that are inserted in local newspapers or delivered directly to homes. A similar message can be seen on quart containers of Lucerne brand milk. Safeway shoppers will also hear facts about prostate cancer on the company's In-Store Network broadcast system.
Safeway pharmacies will also sell a specially-priced self screening kit that tells men if they are at elevated risk. The Biosafe Prostate Screen is a self-collected laboratory analysis kit that measures a substance produced by the prostate gland called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). Annual PSA testing is a safe and effective aid in the detection of prostate diseases, such as prostate cancer.