In the fight against cancer, one form of the disease has flown under the radar for years despite the fact it is the fourth largest cause of cancer mortality among Americans. This November, the largest U.S. retailer of mattresses, Mattress Firm, is hoping to raise visibility around the disease as it recognizes National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and makes a commitment to raise $1 million through the Mattress Firm Foundation. These funds will directly impact earlier detection and treatment of the disease.
Pancreatic cancer, which kills approximately 40,000 U.S. residents each year, is frequently referred to as a “silent killer” because it is challenging to detect at early stages, and when found, is difficult to treat. The $1 million commitment from the Mattress Firm Foundation will directly fund a research study on new imaging methods that may allow for earlier and more accurate detection of pancreatic cancer, before it spreads to other organs.
“As a national company with a footprint of more than 1,700 stores, we at Mattress Firm hope to help raise awareness of this deadly and complex disease,” said Steve Stagner, president and CEO of Mattress Firm. “Many of our team members have been personally touched by the disease and lost loved ones, and we dream it’s possible to extend the lives of our friends and loved ones through our funding and awareness-building programs. It used to be that only four percent of people with pancreatic cancer would live to survive another birthday. Now, thanks to clinical trials, 40 percent are living to see another year.”
Mattress Firm is partnering in the fight against pancreatic cancer with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). TGen is a non-profit organization that focuses on developing earlier diagnostics and treatments of diseases, including pancreatic cancer.
Mattress Firm began its partnership with TGen in 2011 to help fund the institute’s aggressive search for the cure for pancreatic cancer. TGen’s cancer expert Dr. Daniel Von Hoff and his recent clinical trials have been instrumental in improving the one-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with the disease. Dr. Von Hoff most recently served a six-year term on President Bush’s National Cancer Advisory Board (June 2004 – March 2010) and has served on the FDA’s Oncology Advisory Committee. He is the past President of the American Association for Cancer Research (the largest cancer research organization in the world), a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a member and past board member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
“Round Up” for Pancreatic Cancer in November
This month, Mattress Firm is asking its customers to donate to the cause through a “Round Up” for pancreatic cancer fundraiser at point of purchase. By rounding a purchase up to the nearest dollar, ten dollars or even hundred dollars, each sale will directly benefit the Mattress Firm Foundation’s support of TGen’s clinical trials.
“For every $1 million raised, we can fund an additional clinical trial,” said Stagner. “Each trial brings us closer to finding a cure. Together, we can dream it’s possible to make this a reality in our lifetime.”
Mattress Firm stores across the country will also participate in local runs/walks and other fundraising events in their communities. Last year, more than 1,000 stores and 2,000 employees participated in local events in November alone.