REDONDO BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 26, 2006--As part of the Breakaway from Cancer(TM) initiative, a national education campaign to support services and programs that help people who are living with cancer, Amgen today announced a donation totaling $1.1 million to The Wellness Community(R). The Wellness Community is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support, education and hope for people affected by cancer at no cost.
The presentation was made in Redondo Beach, Calif., during closing ceremonies of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California, a 600-mile world-class cycling event that traversed the state February 19-26.
"We are grateful not only for Amgen´s continued commitment to discover and develop vital medicines to fight cancer, but also for their significant financial contribution to The Wellness Community in connection with the Breakaway from Cancer effort," said Kim Thiboldeaux, president and chief executive officer of The Wellness Community. "Amgen´s support of The Wellness Community truly makes a difference in helping us to provide people with cancer and their caregivers with the education and hope they need during this critical time in their lives."
Launched in December 2005 as a partnership between Amgen, The Wellness Community and Discovery Channel(R) professional cycling team member and 10-time Tour de France veteran George Hincapie, the Breakaway from Cancer initiative is a complementary component to Amgen´s title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California. The initiative includes a series of free patient workshops designed to help people who are affected by cancer learn about new treatments, side effect management, support networks and educational resources.
"I´m very proud of my partnership with Amgen and The Wellness Community on the Breakaway from Cancer campaign because nearly everyone is touched by cancer in one way or another and it is critical that those affected realize they don´t have to face this illness alone," said Hincapie, who recently lost an uncle to cancer. "Just as in cycling, where it takes a great support team to help an individual breakaway from the pack, it takes a strong support network to help a cancer patient face the many hurdles throughout treatment."
Funds were raised for The Wellness Community through a number of initiatives, including the 25-mile Breakaway from Cancer charity ride in Thousand Oaks which preceded stage six of the Amgen Tour of California, a silent auction at an annual Amgen leadership meeting in January, and through sales of merchandise offered via the breakawayfromcancer.com Web site. Amgen also supported the Breakaway from Cancer initiative through a charitable and educational grant.
Throughout the eight-day Amgen Tour of California, cancer survivors were prominently featured in race activities, including kicking-off various race stages and presenting leader jerseys to stage winners. In addition, riders were cheered to the finish in Redondo Beach by hundreds of cancer survivors, patients and caregivers as part of the Breakaway Mile, an effort to raise awareness of the Breakaway from Cancer campaign and The Wellness Community´s efforts to support those living with cancer in California.
"Amgen is proud of our sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California, a thrilling race that saw the world´s best cyclists battle it out on some of the most punishing -- and spectacular -- terrain that California has to offer," said Kathryn West, Amgen. "As a company dedicated to tapping the power of pioneering science to fight serious illness, we are equally proud of our partnership with The Wellness Community and delighted to celebrate their extraordinary work on behalf of the millions of people who are affected by cancer."
As part of the national campaign, funds continue to be raised through the sale of Breakaway from Cancer apparel and coffee mugs. Merchandise is available for purchase online at www.breakawayfromcancer.com, with all proceeds benefiting The Wellness Community.
For the latest information on the Breakaway from Cancer campaign and ways to support those living with the illness, visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com.
Amgen discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science´s promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people´s lives. To learn more about our pioneering science and our vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.
About The Wellness Community
The Wellness Community is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free support and education as well as hope to people affected by cancer. Through participation in professionally-led support groups, educational workshops, nutrition and exercise programs, and mind/body classes, people affected by cancer learn vital skills that enable them to regain control, reduce isolation and restore hope regardless of the stage of their disease. Today, there are 21 Wellness Communities across the United States, five in development, 28 satellites, two centers abroad in Tokyo and Tel Aviv, and a community online at The Virtual Wellness Community. Please visit www.thewellnesscommunity.org for more information.
Mary Klem, 805-447-4587
The Wellness Community
Michelle Pollak, 202-659-9709