Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and NASCAR driver and Washington native Kasey Kahne with the help of Safeway were able to donate $1,060,005 to the Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Strong Against Cancer Initiative
SEATTLE, WASH. (Aug. 25, 2016) – Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, on behalf of his Why Not You Foundation and the Kasey Kahne Foundation, will present a check during the Thursday night Seahawks – Cowboys preseason game at CenturyLink Field for $1,060,005 to Seattle Children’s Hospital and its Strong Against Cancer initiative. The fundraising proceeds were a combined effort from The DRIVE charity event co-hosted by Wilson and NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne on June 27 and 28 and an in-store promotion by Safeway’s customers that ran during the month of July.
The third edition of the charity concert, auction and golf event was held at Suncadia resort in Cle Elum, Wash. The donation to Seattle Children’s Hospital will aid research that supports immunotherapy – a medical treatment that reprograms a child’s immune cells to fight cancer. Joining Russell for the on-field presentation of the donation will be Kelly Kahne, Kasey’s father and a resident of Enumclaw, Dr. Jeff Sperring, the CEO of Seattle Children’s Hospital, Dr. Gary Kaplan is Chairman & CEO of Virginia Mason Health System, and Sara Osborne, Director of Safeway Foundation and Albertsons Companies Foundation.
“The DRIVE is a great event that brings the community together for a fun evening to raise money for an important cause, I love being a part of it,” said Wilson. “Strong Against Cancer is saving children’s lives. Thank you to all of The DRIVE donors and customers of Safeway and Albertsons who donated to help make a difference. Why not you? Why not us?”
Wilson and Kahne started the fundraising event in 2014 to give back to the Seattle community. In just three short years, they have been able to donate over $1.7 million to Seattle area charities. The remaining balance of the amount raised from 2016 will again benefit the Kasey Kahne Foundation and Why Not You Foundation directly.
More than 600 guests attended the two-day private event that included a “jam” concert featuring a medley of musicians and special guests, including Preston Pohl from “The Voice,” who led the house band, country legend Johnny Lee, Prince Ama, Arabian Price and MC Serch. The first evening’s highlight was the live auction sponsored by Virginia Mason, which involved high-stakes bidding by the generous crowd with Wilson connecting on football passes for donations and Kahne signing autograph diecast race cars. The next day, over 136 golfers and 34 celebrities, including actor Chris Pratt, actor Anthony Anderson from the hit TV show Blackish, comedian George Lopez, and Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse, joined Wilson and Kahne on Suncadia Resort’s Tumble Creek Golf Course.
“I always enjoy coming home to Washington, especially for The DRIVE,” said Kahne, a 17-time winner on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series who grew up in nearby Enumclaw, Wash. “It is a great event that everyone has a lot of fun at. It’s also a good way for me to stay connected to the community and partner with Russell (Wilson) on such a special event and help the incredible team at Seattle Children’s Hospital cure childhood cancers.”
The 2016 event sold out and featured the support of many great sponsors, including presenting sponsor Safeway, concert sponsor Great Clips, auction sponsor Virginia Mason, plus major partners Farmers Insurance, Financial Advocates, Northwest Chevy Dealers, and Alaska Airlines.
“The partnership between Safeway and The Drive was a natural fit,” said Dan Valenzuela, Albertsons and Safeway President. “As longtime supporters of Seattle Children’s Hospital and cancer research, we were thrilled to support this effort. But even better, by hosting the fundraiser at all our stores in July, we provided an easy way for anyone in the state to donate to this remarkable research when Russell invited everyone to join him on the Strong against Cancer team.”
Strong Against Cancer is a nationwide initiative inspired by the immunotherapy discoveries at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Why Not You Foundation and the Kasey Kahne Foundation for supporting the Strong Against Cancer initiative through The DRIVE,” said Dr. Jeff Sperring, chief executive officer at Seattle Children’s. “Thank you to Russell, Kasey and all the sponsors who are helping us provide a game-changing new treatment that harnesses the power of a child’s own immune system to fight cancer, limiting the need for other aggressive therapies.”
About the Kasey Kahne Foundation
The Kasey Kahne Foundation is a 501(c) 3 committed to raising awareness and funds for charities supporting chronically ill children and their families. The KKF also strives to empower youth and inspire their future through education by donating to programs dedicated to fulfilling children’s needs for success. Since 2005, Kasey has dedicated countless hours by visiting with ill children, granting their wishes and speaking to groups of school-aged children about the importance of education. To learn more about fundraising events and supporting the KKF, please visit www.KaseyKahneFoundation.org.
About the Why Not You Foundation
The Why Not You Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity founded by Seattle Seahawks’ Quarterback Russell Wilson. The Why Not You Foundation’s was launched in 2014 by Wilson with the mission of creating real and lasting change in the world by motivating, empowering and preparing today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders. Russell is committed to the community, making visits to Seattle Children’s, advocating for pediatric cancer through Strong Against Cancer, working with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to Pass the Peace and supporting the work of many other youth-focused non-profit organizations. Please visit the Why Not You Foundation’s website http://WhyNotYouFDN.org, for additional information.
About Strong Against Cancer
Strong Against Cancer is a nationwide initiative inspired by the immunotherapy discoveries at Seattle Children’s. This initiative is a team effort on the part of hospitals, researchers, doctors, nurses, corporations, organizations and individuals. The captain of the team is Russell Wilson, quarterback of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, who learned about immunotherapy during his regular visits to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Clinical trials for this therapy are now underway and are producing exceptional results in eliminating childhood leukemia. The aim of the Strong Against Cancer team is to create a national philanthropic initiative with worldwide implications for curing childhood cancers through these immunotherapy treatments. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.StrongAgainstCancer.org.