Safeway Raises $10.4 Million to Help Fight Neuromuscular Disease

Sep 6, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) today announced they raised $10.4 million during a five-week campaign to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) develop treatments and assist people coping with neuromuscular diseases.

“Safeway’s commitment to MDA is making lives better for children and adults who have neuromuscular diseases,” said MDA CEO, President and Telethon Executive Producer Jerry Weinberg. “Because of the generosity of Safeway’s employees and their customers, MDA is moving closer to innovative treatments. The company’s remarkable support for the families that MDA serves is deeply appreciated.”

From August 1 through Labor Day, the company’s Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Genuardi’s, Carrs and Pak ‘N Save stores collected donations at checkstands and, among other things, sold special MDA T-Shirts and root beer floats. In addition, the company’s U.S. stores joined with its vendors in the “Make a Muscle, Make a Difference” program, which provided MDA with a portion of the proceeds of specially marked products purchased by Safeway customers. At the end of the campaign, Safeway Executive Vice President and Chair of the Safeway Foundation Larree Renda presented a check to MDA during the organization’s annual Labor Day Telethon broadcast in Las Vegas. Donations collected at stores in Canada will go to Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC).

“We are grateful to our customers and employees for their support and commitment to helping MDA find cures for some of the most debilitating diseases that face medical science,” said Ms. Renda. “The funds we raised will support medical advances as well as services and therapies designed to help people with neuromuscular disease.” MDA currently funds more than 300 leading-edge research projects worldwide.

Over the years, individual Safeway stores and operating divisions have collected donations for the organization through local grassroots fundraising efforts. In addition, groups of employees volunteered by answering phones at local broadcasts of the annual telethon. The company has raised more than $68.4 million for muscular dystrophy charities.

MDA works in communities to combat neuromuscular diseases through (1) basic and applied scientific investigation, (2) local comprehensive programs of medical and support services, and (3) widespread professional and public health education.

Safeway’s longtime support has helped MDA-backed researchers reach astonishing milestones. In the last five months alone, MDA has:

  • Launched the first clinical trial with a drug that specifically targets the genetic flaw in familial ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Gained FDA approval to initiate a clinical trial with the first drug designed to reverse the genetic flaw in Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that causes the muscles to atrophy and waste away
  • Launched two projects designed to prevent debilitating side effects caused by long-term steroid therapy, currently the only approved drug regimen for certain neuromuscular diseases
  • Launched a clinical trial designed to optimize a gene therapy strategy for Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, which most severely affects hip and shoulder muscles
  • Established multi-center clinical research networks that are engaged in cutting-edge clinical investigations to further improve the diagnosis and clinical management of individuals with these conditions

Safeway dedicates each April and August to raise funds for people with disabilities. The company uses in-store radio broadcasts to customers and employee video messages to communicate research breakthroughs and new programs that help millions of 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 MDA and Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC).

Along with supporting people with disabilities, Safeway is one of the largest corporate supporters of cancer charities, having raised nearly $170 million for breast cancer and prostate cancer research and treatment. In addition, the company contributes to a broad range of charitable and community programs and in 2010 raised or donated more than $200 million to education, hunger relief, health and human services and programs focused on assisting people with disabilities, including MDA.

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 1,687 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $41.1 billion in 2010. The company’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY.

About the MDA

MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive healthcare and support services, advocacy and education.

In addition to funding more than 330 research teams worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics; orchestrates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; facilitates extraordinary local summer camp opportunities for thousands youngsters fighting progressive muscle diseases. Known globally for the MDA Labor Day Telethon, the Association is the first nonprofit to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association “for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity.” 

Contact: Teena Massingill, 925-467-3810  
  [email protected]  


SOURCE Safeway, Inc.

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