Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) announced today it has raised a record $10.2 million to support medical research and services for the millions of people living with neuromuscular diseases. The funds were raised during Safeway’s annual Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) campaign, a five-week endeavor to highlight the need to find cures and treatments for muscular dystrophy and related diseases, and presented during the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon in Las Vegas Labor Day weekend.
“This is a remarkable number and testimony to the generosity and dedication of Safeway’s employees and customers,” said MDA National Chairman and Telethon star Jerry Lewis, who accepted the donations during the 21½ -hour broadcast. “We take great comfort knowing we can count on Safeway to be a true partner in the search for cures for neuromuscular diseases.”
During the annual campaign, Safeway’s more than 1,700 stores in the U.S. and Canada collected donations for MDA and Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) in an effort to assist people with neuromuscular disease, such as various forms of muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The company’s U.S. retail stores also participated in the Aisles of Smiles program, which provides MDA with a portion of the proceeds of specially marked brands purchased by Safeway customers. The funds are targeted to projects focused on the causes and treatments of neuromuscular diseases at leading medical research centers.
“We are honored to be part of this annual Labor Day weekend tradition,” said Safeway Executive Vice President, Chief Strategist and Administrative Officer Larree Renda, who is also a National Vice President of MDA. “The funds raised will support both medical research and those services and therapies designed to help people with neuromuscular diseases live fuller, more productive lives.”
Over the years, Safeway has raised nearly $52 million for muscular dystrophy charities through customer donations at checkout and grass-roots efforts, such as walks, in-store challenges and bake sales. MDA and MDC then use the funds for research that is ground-breaking and promising.
MDA’s unparalleled research program, totaling more than $42 million annually, supports more than 330 active research projects worldwide aimed at restoring muscle function in children and adults affected by neuromuscular disease and clinical drug development targeted at stopping the ravaging progressive effects of these diseases.
While there are no cures for most neuromuscular diseases, MDA’s long-standing support for research has led to in-depth understanding of the causes and possible therapeutic approaches.
Currently, MDA-supported scientists are moving developments from the laboratory into human clinical trials for a number of disorders, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, limb girdle muscular dystrophy and ALS, and providing hope to those living with these devastating disorders. MDA’s decades of research support have yielded great strides in the fight against these diseases including the 2006 FDA approval of an effective, life-saving drug therapy for a catastrophic pediatric neuromuscular disorder known as Acid-Maltase Deficiency.