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Inaugural Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month a Success

July 30, 2013 | Michelle Liew

This past June, CRI held its inaugural Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month (CIAM) in an effort to increase public awareness of the power of immunotherapy to save lives and transform cancer treatment, and to raise funds to support CRI’s pioneering research programs. The month was an outstanding success, and plans are now under way for next year’s June events.

Throughout the month, CRI hosted five free live webinars featuring leading scientists in cancer immunotherapy, including Dr. Kunle Odunsi of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Carl June of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Jedd Wolchok of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Dr. Philip Greenberg of the University of Washington. More than 460 individuals participated in the webinars and had the opportunity to ask the experts questions about cancer immunotherapy. Dendreon Corporation, manufacturer of the Provenge prostate cancer vaccine, generously provided underwriting for the webinar series.

CRI also had its awareness message broadcast on the NASDAQ tower in Times Square twice as part of CIAM. The first, in May, was with CIAM sponsor 1-800-FLOWERS.COM®, whose CEO and CRI trustee Jim McCann announced the awareness month and the Wear White for a Cure™ campaign during the NASDAQ® opening bell ceremony. The second, in June, included members of the Ludwig Collaborative and Swim Across America lab at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who joined us in their white lab coats to signify their support for CRI’s work to advance immunotherapy.

State and municipal government also got behind the month, with proclamations from both the New York Legislature and the City of New York declaring June as a month to honor progress in cancer immunotherapy thanks to the efforts of the Cancer Research Institute.

The Fund for Park Avenue joined CRI in celebrating CIAM by planting white baby dragon wing begonias along the malls of Park Avenue. CRI trustee Lauren Veronis and Andrea Mendell, wife of trustee Thomas Mendell, joined our CEO, Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., and the Fund’s president, Barbara McLaughlin, on the malls for the planting ceremony on June 2.

Teams of fundraisers as well as individuals from all around the world joined us in Wearing White on June 7 and each Friday in June thereafter. Many shared via email and social media photographs of their teams wearing our white I’Mmunotherapy T-shirt. Top team fundraisers included Agenus Inc., Basin Holdings (with special thanks to CRI chairman John Fitzgibbons), and Argos Therapeutics. The top individual fundraiser was CRI’s own office manager and workplace giving campaign manager, Shasell Negron. The event raised more than $35,000, and has attracted interest from several potential corporate sponsors, positioning next year’s awareness and fundraising event for even greater success.

View photos below of 2013 "Wear White for a Cure Day" participants and learn more about how you can join us next June in the Fight with White.


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