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Safeway gives $685,000 to TGen for breast cancer research

PHOENIX, Ariz. March 4, 2009 Despite a down economy, Safeway Inc. presented a $685,236 check this week for breast cancer research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Dan Valenzuela, President of Safeway's Phoenix Division, which includes 116 stores throughout Arizona, thanked the grocery chain's customers and employees for stepping up for scientific research.

"We're very proud to donate to such an organization as TGen. I think everybody recognizes that, with the economy the way it is, it gets tougher to ask people for donations,'' Valenzuela told about 50 TGen employees gathered Tuesday for the announcement. "Because of your research, and the things that you do, we're honored to present you with a check.''

Safeway's donation represents a 37 percent increase from the $500,000 the company gave TGen last year. The contributions both years were based on month-long campaigns at Arizona's Safeway stores in October 2007 and October 2008.

"You can't give enough credit to our customers and employees,'' Valenzuela said, adding that a major reason Safeway chose to support Phoenix-based TGen was that the research dollars would stay in Arizona.

"The benefit (of TGen's research) is far-reaching. The big thing is, where do the funds go? It (TGen) is local,'' Valenzuela said.

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen's President and Scientific Director, said the significant and timely contribution by Safeway is an example of the generosity repeatedly shown by local businesses and the people of Arizona.

"This donation will be put to immediate use to help develop treatments and, eventually, find a cure for breast cancer, a major priority for us at TGen and a goal that would benefit everyone,'' Dr. Trent said.

Michael Bassoff, President of the TGen Foundation, the fundraising arm of the non-profit biomedical research institute, described Safeway's contribution as a special tribute to TGen researchers as they work to conquer cancer and other debilitating diseases.

"Contributors are looking hard at their charitable opportunities and are looking for the organizations that are run efficiently and produce results,'' Bassoff said. "But today's donation by Safeway is a tribute to you, the work you do in the laboratories, and the many Arizonans who came forward to support TGen,'' Bassoff told the assembled TGen employees.

Dr. Heather Cunliffe, a TGen breast cancer researcher, said Safeway's donation would help accelerate work towards new treatments for breast cancer patients.

Bassoff also credited the "extra gumption'' and hard work of Safeway employees who were willing to ask customers if they would contribute to breast cancer research.


Contact: Steve Yozwiak
The Translational Genomics Research Institute

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