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Hooters of Gulfport Makes the Largest Contribution towards the $250,000 Donation to the V Foundation for Cancer Research

ATLANTA, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Hooters of Gulfport made the largest contribution of any other Hooters location towards a national fundraising effort to support breast cancer research. The Gulfport location donated $14,972 to the cause -- close to $10,000 more than any other single restaurant. This contributed to the largest single donation Hooters has ever made with the presentation of a $250,000 check to the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research.

The funds will go towards the 2 million dollar Kelly Jo Dowd breast cancer research grant, developed for Kelly Jo 2 years ago. Kelly Jo was one of the original Hooters Girls at the first location in Clearwater, Florida, and recently lost her battle with breast cancer after battling the dreaded disease for the past 5 years. In the last years of her life, Kelly Jo became an advocate for early detection, education and fundraising in the battle against breast cancer within the Hooters organization.

Over the past year, Hooters of Gulfport has raised money through car washes, a golf tournament, selling the pink uniform card cutouts as well as selling boxed breakfasts to companies and having them personally delivered by the Hooters Girls.

"Our community responded with extreme generosity," said Peter Meleones, Director of Operations for Gulf Coast Wings. "After all that this area has been through in the past two years, due to Hurricane Katrina, people still found the means to donate to a worthwhile cause. This is the most humble and generous community that I have ever had the privilege to be a part of."

The $250,000 check was presented to Nick Valvano, CEO of the V Foundation, during the 11th Annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant in Las Vegas after a tribute video and toast to Kelly Jo. "This is not just another donation from us to the V Foundation," explained Mike McNeil, VP of Marketing for Hooters, "We are fulfilling a promise to Kelly Jo we made before she passed away -- a promise to support breast cancer research and make awareness and early detection a focus for 250,000 Hooters Girls past and present."

Hooters of America, Inc. is the franchisor and operator of over 435 Hooters restaurants in 44 states and 22 foreign countries. Hooters is very involved with charities and organizations nationwide through HOO.C.E.F., the Hooters Community Endowment Fund. The fund was started in 1992 and has raised and contributed over 8 million dollars to major non-profit organizations like Make-A-Wish Foundation, the V Foundation for Cancer Research, American Diabetes Association, Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

SOURCE Hooters of America, Inc.
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