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Press release from Business Wire

Safeway Campaign for Muscular Dystrophy Research Raises $11.2 Million

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Safeway Campaign for Muscular Dystrophy Research Raises $11.2 Million15:38 EDT Wednesday, September 08, 2010 PLEASANTON, Calif. (Business Wire) -- After a month-long fundraising campaign to help finance the medical fight against neuromuscular diseases, Safeway Inc., (NYSE:SWY) announced its grand total amount of $11.2 million to the Muscular Dystrophy Association during MDA's annual Labor Day Telethon on Monday. “Thanks to the generosity of our customers and the enthusiasm of our employees, we are making an important difference in the lives of individuals and families coping with debilitating neuromuscular diseases,” said Safeway Executive Vice President, Larree Renda, who is also an MDA National Vice President. “MDA's outreach is without limit and the results of MDA-funded research are nothing short of amazing. I am confident we will see a cure for neuromuscular disease in our lifetime and MDA will be at the center of that cure.” Safeway's 1,700-plus stores collected 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 also participated in the Aisles of Smiles program, which provides MDA a portion of the sale proceeds of specially marked products. MDA CEO, President and Telethon Executive Producer Jerry Weinberg said Safeway's ongoing commitment to MDA has enabled the Association to enhance funding to its worldwide research programs. “Because of Safeway's efforts and the generosity of their customers, MDA can dedicate a broader range of resources to leading-edge research that is paving the way for innovative treatments for neuromuscular diseases,” he said. “We are deeply grateful for Safeway's extraordinary support for the families MDA serves.” This year some of the most promising MDA-funded research focused on treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), 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. DMD most commonly affects young boys between two and six years of age, progressively weakening their muscles, requiring wheelchairs by their early teen years and substantially shortening their lives. Researchers from an MDA-supported team at the University of California, Los Angeles used a new generation of designer molecules to repair the flawed dystrophin gene in laboratory tests. This gene repair strategy shows great promise that may be applicable to many other diseases caused by genetic mutations. Over the years, Safeway has raised over $58 million for muscular dystrophy charities through customer donations at checkout and grass roots efforts, such as walks, golf tournaments and bake sales. Safeway dedicates each April and August to bringing awareness to helping people with disabilities. 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 North America. 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 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 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.