The Wilson Celebrity Invitational in partnership with Safeway, donates over $1.6 million to Strong Against Cancer



SEATTLE, WASH. (AUG. 25, 2017) – Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, on behalf of his Why Not You Foundation, will present Seattle Children’s and its Strong Against Cancer initiative a donation of $1,675,367 during the Friday Seahawks versus Chiefs preseason game at CenturyLink Field. The proceeds were raised through a combined effort from The Wilson Celebrity Invitational charity event Wilson hosted in June and Safeway and Albertsons customers who participated in an in-store promotion during the month of July.

The donation to Strong Against Cancer will help advance T-cell immunotherapy research at Seattle Children’s, which harnesses the power of a child’s own immune system to fight cancer.

“I am honored to be a part of Strong Against Cancer, it is a critical research initiative that could save your child’s life or mine” said Wilson. “The Why Not You Foundation and the Wilson Celebrity Invitational are dedicated to making an impact in the lives of children. I am so grateful to the sponsors and donors of the event and customers of Safeway and Albertsons who gave to the cause. Together we can change the world”

Joining Russell for the on-field check presentation will be Dr. Jeff Sperring, the chief executive officer of Seattle Children’s, Dr. Steve Kirtland, the chief of staff of Virginia Mason, Sara Osborne, director of the Safeway and Albertsons Foundation and Carly Young, executive director of the Why Not You Foundation.

“We are incredibility grateful to the Why Not You Foundation, Safeway, the sponsors and everyone who donated for supporting Strong Against Cancer,” said Dr. Jeff Sperring, chief executive officer of Seattle Children’s. “It is generous donations like this that are critical to helping us accelerate our game-changing immunotherapy clinical trials and forge the path towards finding a cure for children with cancer.”

Last year, from The DRIVE golf event, Wilson and the Kasey Kahne Foundation presented $1.06 million to Strong Against Cancer in partnership with Safeway and Albertsons.

The charity concert, auction and golf event was held at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Washington. 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, as well as country legend Johnny Lee, Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish, Andrew Copeland from Sister Hazel and Chris Kirkpatrick of NSYNC to name a few. 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. The next day, over 136 golfers and 34 celebrities, including actor Richard Karn and athletes Matt Moore, Sidney Rice, Bryan Walters, Grant Fuhr, Brian Mogg and Jermaine Kearse, joined Wilson on Suncadia Resort’s Tumble Creek Golf Course.

The 2017 event sold out and featured the support of many great sponsors, including presenting sponsor Safeway, auction sponsor Virginia Mason, plus major partners WheelsUp, Metropolitan Grill, Financial Advocates, Northwest Chevy Dealers, and Alaska Airlines.

“We were thrilled to support WCI this year, and look forward to what the future holds for our fundraising partnership,” said Karl Schroeder, Albertsons and Safeway President. “Our company has been a longtime supporter of accelerating cancer research in the Seattle region, and the research supported by the Strong Against Cancer campaign is one of the most exciting advancements toward a cure that we have invited our customers to be involved in. It’s extraordinary that Russell is using his platform and resources to bring attention to Strong Against Cancer, and we are humbled to be a partner in this effort.”

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.

The Why Not You Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity founded by Seattle Seahawks’ Quarterback Russell Wilson. The Why Not You Foundation’s mission is to empower change in the world one individual at a time. Why Not You? Why Not Us? The foundation is dedicated to motivating and inspiring today’s youth to be 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.

Strong Against Cancer is a nationwide fundraising initiative with worldwide implications for curing childhood cancers, eventually without the need for prolonged chemotherapy and radiation. Immunotherapy, a potentially game-changing experimental treatment, enables a child’s own immune system to hunt down and destroy cancer cells. Our Strong Against Cancer team of supporters funds clinical trials and immunotherapy research underway at Seattle Children’s. The results of clinical trials so far are remarkable – and have already saved lives. The Strong Against Cancer team captain is Russell Wilson, quarterback of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, who learned about immunotherapy during his regular visits to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Learn more or donate at