- Posted Tuesday March 19, 2013
TGen effort combines fundraising, gardening to combat pancreatic cancer
TOLEDO, Ohio - March 19, 2013 - More northwest
Ohio garden centers this spring are teaming up with an
Arizona-based biomedical research organization to fight pancreatic
cancer through the sale of purple flowers, which symbolize the
nation's fourth leading cause of cancer death.
The Maumee Valley Growers, who helped initiate the "Plant Purple-Grow Hope" campaign in 2011, are joined this year by The Anderson's Markets and Sautter's Markets in raising funds for pancreatic cancer research at the Phoenix-based non-profit Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
Growers and retailers will raise funds for TGen during May and June by donating a portion of the sale of any purple flowers. Purple is the color representing pancreatic cancer.
"We're looking at expanding the program this year. It can only get bigger," said Toledo native Deanna Bobak, who lost her father, Donald Swicegood of Toledo, to pancreatic cancer. He died only months after his diagnosis, and Bobak hopes a method of early detection can be developed.
"People are excited. There's a lot of positive energy in moving the program forward," said Bobak, who is spearheading the drive again this year in the Toledo area.
Jim Sautter, owner of Sautter's Markets in suburban Toledo, buys from local farms and likes to get involved in local causes. He views participation in Plant Purple-Grow Hope as a great opportunity to help his local community.
While he doesn't have anyone in his immediate family impacted by pancreatic cancer, Sautter said he has known those who have. "It's a very serious disease, and it would be wonderful if TGen could make some headway toward better treatments, or even a cure."
Joe Perlaky, Executive Director of the Maumee Valley Growers, said, "Our 13 garden centers that developed the program have provided a great opportunity for location expansion and increased community awareness.This is important to us.It's really about the research and the pursuit of a treatment or cure.We all look forward to a time when this dreaded disease is only mentioned in the history books."
Kelly Kinney started Plant Purple-Grow Hope in honor of her brother, Bret Connors, a Scottsdale, Arizona, resident who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2009.
"We are really excited to continue working with the Maumee Valley Growers, who have made a long-term commitment to us and who at the same time are open to others joining our community awareness efforts," said Kinney, who moved to Houston, from Toledo, and hopes to secure a major sponsor in the future that will enable Plant Purple-Grow Hope to become a nationwide program.
"We're really excited to initiate our third year. We've shown that we are able to sustain this effort, and are on pace to continue to grow and build relationships. I am more committed than ever, and really exited about the future," said Kinney, adding that Plant Purple-Grow Hope helps preserve the memory of her brother, Bret, who is survived by his wife and three sons. For more about Bret, please visit:
Michael Bassoff, President of the TGen Foundation, said that TGen scientists are inspired by the passion and commitment of Kinney and others involved in Plant Purple-Grow Hope.
"TGen's profound advances against pancreatic cancer have been fueled by the generous leadership of volunteers across the nation, and we are thrilled to continue to receive critically needed funding from this bold and creative initiative," Bassoff said.
To launch a Plant Purple-Grow Hope program in your community, please contact Erin Massey at the TGen Foundation at 602-343-8470.
Proceeds will fund TGen and its Pancreatic Cancer Research Team (PCRT), which includes leading pancreatic cancer scientists, physicians and researchers, armed with the most technologically advanced tools and resources, at 45 top-flight medical research institutions worldwide.
Pancreatic cancer annually takes the lives of more than 37,000 Americans, making it the nation's fourth-leading cause of cancer death.
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About Maumee Valley Growers
Maumee Valley Growers (MVGA) is an industry-based, not for profit association of regional greenhouse growers in northwest Ohio committed to working together to strengthen and sustain their local economy. The organization includes individual Maumee Valley growers, alike in offering top-quality local plants but distinct in location, product mix, and focus. MVGA engages in community activities involving nearly 70 floriculture greenhouses who employ 740 workers generating $100-$115 million in revenue for their area annually. For more information and a complete list of participating nurseries, visit: www.maumeevalleygrowers.com.
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.
TGen Senior Science Writer