[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 29-Jul-2011
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Contact: Steve Yozwiak
syozwiak@tgen.org
602-343-8704
The Translational Genomics Research Institute

Mattress Firm committed to pancreatic cancer research

Houston-based bedding retailer to raise awareness and funding for TGen’s globalCure clinical trials

PHOENIX, Ariz.— July 29, 2011 — Mattress Firm, a leading specialty mattress retailer with more than 720 stores nationwide, is committed to supporting the fight against pancreatic cancer by raising funds for clinical trials through the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) globalCure initiative.

GlobalCure is a TGen-led alliance of the world's foremost scientists, physicians and advocates in the fight to find a cure for pancreatic cancer, the nation's fourth leading cause of cancer death.

Mattress Firm is following in the footsteps of Scottsdale resident Roger Magowitz, who for nearly a decade has championed research into finding a cure for pancreatic cancer, the disease that took the life of his mother, Seena, in 2001.

Magowitz, a longtime member of the bedding industry, has enlisted the Houston-based company's Mattress Firm Foundation to join the fight against pancreatic cancer by supporting globalCure.

"Roger Magowitz was quick to impress upon us all the importance of funding research and raising awareness for this deadly disease," said Mattress Firm President and CEO Steve Stagner. "His transfer of enthusiasm to us really hit home with our executive team, and ultimately with the rest of our company."

As a result, Mattress Firm Foundation has named TGen as its "charitable partner," specifically funding the research and clinical trials conducted by globalCure.

"It is a most generous tribute to my late mother that the Mattress Firm Foundation has elected to join the fight against pancreatic cancer, specifically through funding globalCure," said Roger Magowitz, President of the Seena Magowitz Foundation. "Pancreatic cancer is a disease that we believe can eventually be cured — and soon."

Through a promotional partnership with Simmons Bedding Co. earlier this year and corporate support of the cause Mattress Firm Foundation has already raised more than $400,000 to directly support the clinical trials and research of globalCure. The company hopes to raise even more by the end of 2011.

The company's foundation is dedicated to raising funds via a variety of avenues, including the recent introduction of their employee donation program. To reach the broadest audience possible, Mattress Firm Foundation has launched online donation options on the company's website, www.mattressfirm.com/charity, and on a new fundraising platform through Crowdrise, a unique blend of online fundraising, crowdsourcing, social networking and contests.

Funding as many clinical trials as possible is the focus of Mattress Firm Foundation's efforts. "As we build more awareness, and develop more fundraising opportunities, we will start funding even more clinical trials every year," said Sunni Goodman, Mattress Firm's Communications Manager.

Raising awareness of pancreatic cancer and the great need for research and clinical trials is a key component of the Foundation's efforts. In June, the company launched the foundation nationwide, displaying literature in each of their more than 700 stores to provide information and make local communities aware of the need. The company also has plans to boost initial fundraising with in-store donation options this fall.

"We have one clear focus. We know that our fundraising efforts will go directly to those clinical trials so that we can, hopefully, find a cure for this cancer in our lifetime," Stagner said.

Mattress Firm employees, their families, friends and customers are discovering that they know patients with pancreatic cancer, which annually takes the lives of more than 35,000 Americans. The father of one employee, for example, recently went to the doctor for a back cramp, only to discover cancer in his pancreas, spine and elsewhere.

Funding generated through globalCure enables the TGen and TGen Drug Development-led Pancreatic Cancer Research Team (PCRT) to generate independent, scientifically driven clinical trials in an effort to accelerate the pace of discovery and find a cure for this cancer as soon as possible. PCRT is a worldwide consortium of 45 clinical institutions dedicated to pancreatic cancer research.

"Mattress Firm's philanthropic leadership has provided a critically important boost to this unprecedented alliance of the world's top pancreatic cancer researchers," said TGen Foundation President Michael Bassoff. "With the support of the Mattress Firm Foundation, globalCure is bringing new hope to families battling pancreatic cancer around the world."

Stagner said he hopes that Mattress Firm Foundation's support will multiply through globalCure and do for pancreatic cancer research and scientific discovery what the Susan G. Komen foundation has done for the fight against breast cancer.

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About Mattress Firm

Houston-based Mattress Firm (www.mattressfirm.com) is one of the nation's premier specialty bedding retailers, offering a broad selection of both traditional and specialty mattresses from leading manufacturers, including Tempur-Pedic, Sealy, Simmons, and Stearns & Foster. Founded in 1986, Mattress Firm's purpose is to improve lives one night at a time. With more than 700 stores across 24 states, Mattress Firm offers consumers the benefit of highly trained, knowledgeable sales professionals, a broad product offering, and competitive prices in an attractive and comfortable store environment. Mattress Firm is majority owned by J.W. Childs Associates, L.P. ("JWC"), a private equity firm based in Boston, MA investing in middle-market consumer products and specialty retail growth companies. Since 1995, JWC has invested in more than 40 companies with a total transaction value of over $12 billion. For more information, visit: www.mattressfirm.com/charity.

About globalCure

GlobalCure is an exciting new initiative that embraces a comprehensive array of cross-disciplinary groups in a coordinated effort to help pancreatic cancer patients in the near-term and ultimately put an end to this devastating disease. For more information, visit: www.gcure.org.

About the Seena Magowitz Foundation

The Seena Magowitz Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to advancing the awareness and eventual prevention and cure of pancreatic cancer. The Foundation is dedicated to funding top medical institutions on the leading edge of translational pancreatic cancer research committed to diagnosis, the advancement of life-extending treatment options and the ultimate goal of eradicating this deadly killer. For more information, visit: www.seenamagowitzfoundation.org.

About TGen

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. TGen is affiliated with the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.

Press Contacts:

Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
602-343-8704
syozwiak@tgen.org

Cole Mark
Mattress Firm Communications Specialist
713.343.3606
cole.mark@mattressfirm.com



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