Press release from Business Wire
Safeway Campaign to Raise Millions for Jerry's Kids
<p class=' bwtextaligncenter'> <b>New Research Shows Breakthrough in the Most Common Form of Muscular Dystrophy</b> </p>
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Safeway Campaign to Raise Millions for Jerry's Kids12:00 EDT Tuesday, August 03, 2010 PLEASANTON, Calif. (Business Wire) -- Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY) today announced a companywide campaign to support research and treatment for neuromuscular diseases and praised the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) for the recent groundbreaking medical advancements that the organization has made possible. “Safeway remains committed to funding the work of MDA for one key reason: MDA is passionate about finding new treatments and even eradicating neuromuscular diseases in our lifetime,” said Larree Renda, Safeway Executive Vice President, Chief Strategist and Administrative Officer. “The early results on a new round of research into one of the most prevalent forms of muscular dystrophy reflect this passion. Neuromuscular disease has no greater foe than MDA.” Now through Labor Day, Safeway's more than 1,700 stores in the U.S. and Canada will collect donations for MDA and Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) to find treatments and possible cures for neuromuscular disease, such as spinal muscular atrophy and ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The company's U.S. retail stores will also participate in the Aisles of Smiles program, which provides MDA with a portion of the proceeds of specially marked products purchased by Safeway customers. This year some of the most promising research focused on treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, one of the most common neuromuscular diseases, which is characterized by the absence of a protein dystrophin, which helps keep muscle cells intact. Without dystrophin, the body's muscles progressively deteriorate. Researchers from an MDA-supported team at the University of California, Los Angeles used a new generation of designer molecules to successfully repair the flawed dystrophin gene in the laboratory. This gene repair strategy potentially could be applied to almost any disease caused by one particular type of mutation. Another promising study now underway at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio may also benefit people living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The study focuses on an experimental "exon-skipping" drug. The drug, created by a Dutch biotechnology company in Leiden, The Netherlands, is designed to cause cells' own gene-copying system to skip over (ignore) the faulty dystrophin portion of the gene. This allows the system to make functional dystrophin to help keep the body's muscles in tact. The vice president of the company that created the drug received support from MDA to develop exon skipping when she was at Leiden University. MDA National Chairman Jerry Lewis thanked Safeway for helping MDA fund the exciting new treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. “We are so grateful that Safeway associates and customers keep finding creative ways to advance MDA's lifesaving mission,” said Mr. Lewis. “Safeway's innovative in-store giving events, plus its special Aisles of Smiles coupon program truly make Safeway an extraordinary partner.” Over the years, Safeway has raised over $47 million for muscular dystrophy charities through customer donations at checkout and grass roots efforts, such as walks, golf tournaments and bake sales. At the end of each campaign, Ms. Renda, who is also a National Vice President of MDA, joins Mr. Lewis at the nationally televised MDA Labor Day Telethon to present the funds raised and thank Safeway's customers and employees for their generosity. Simultaneously, Safeway employees from across the country participate in regional MDA telethon activities to bring attention to this important cause. Safeway dedicates each April and August to bringing awareness to helping people with disabilities. The company uses broadcasts to customers in stores and video messages to employees to share information about breakthroughs in research and new programs that help millions of people with disabilities in the United States and around the world. Easter Seals and Special Olympics are among the organizations who receive the donations raised in April, with the August campaign dedicated to the work of MDA. In addition to financial support, the company employs nearly 10,000 people with physical or intellectual disabilities, making it one of the largest corporate employers of people with disabilities in the United States. In 2008 Safeway Chairman, President and CEO Steve Burd received the New Freedom Initiative Award for outstanding efforts to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. ABOUT SAFEWAY www.Safeway.com Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America, based on sales. The company operates 1,712 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $40.8 billion in 2009. The company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY. ABOUT THE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY ASSOCIATION www.mda.org MDA is a voluntary health organization working to defeat more than 40 diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services, and far-reaching professional and public health education.