Kneaders Bakery & Cafe founders, Gary and Colleen Worthington, CEO James Worthington and CFO David Vincent, presented a check for more than $218,884 to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.
The funds will support the cancer research efforts of Joshua Schiffman, MD, a pediatric oncologist and cancer researcher at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. Dr. Schiffman's lab is exploring how a cancer-fighting gene called p53 helps to ward off cancer in elephants, and how this information might be used to help children and adults who are affected by this disease, among other topics.
During September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Kneaders locations throughout the nation sold elephant-shaped sugar cookies and "Hope Fights Childhood Cancer" campaign-themed retail items to benefit the groundbreaking work of Dr. Schiffman. "We are grateful to our loyal customers, our many friends, and our dedicated employees who supported this campaign in such a meaningful way," says James Worthington, CEO, Kneaders' Bakery & Cafe. "We want to help move critical research forward and bring hope to people of all ages fighting cancer."
Inspired by Kneaders founder's grandson, Tanner Smith, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma as a teenager, Kneaders raised approximately $145,000 in 2016 for Dr. Schiffman's research through sales of their elephant-shaped sugar cookie. Coupled with a successful 2017 campaign, Kneaders contribution in the fight against childhood cancer now totals $360,800.
"Our laboratory research team at Huntsman Cancer Institute is honored to receive this generous donation from Kneaders Bakery & Cafe," says Dr. Schiffman. "This will directly support our efforts to understand the genetic basis of pediatric cancer, to create tools to better collect family history of cancer, and also, importantly, to continue our work studying the natural cancer resistance in elephants and how we can hopefully one day translate this to help our pediatric patients with cancer."
Every day, 42 children are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S., and more than 1,790 will die of the disease in the United States this year. In the last 20 years, only three cancer medications have been specifically approved for children.
Jon Huntsman, Founder of Huntsman Cancer Institute, Dr. Schiffman, Susan Sheehan, President & COO of Huntsman Cancer Foundation accepted the check at today's event. "We are so grateful for Kneaders and the Worthington family. Their efforts will fund critical, lifesaving research. The entire Kneaders team has been so supportive of funding children's cancer research and engaging their customers in this cause. On behalf of Huntsman Cancer Foundation, we offer our deepest appreciation," said Susan Sheehan, President and COO of Huntsman Cancer Foundation.