HOUSTON — April 5, 2011 — Mattress Firm, a leading national bedding retailer, has named the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) as its "charitable partner of choice."
Specifically, Mattress Firm will support globalCure, a TGen-led alliance of the world's foremost scientists, physicians and pancreatic cancer advocates in the fight against pancreatic cancer.
Steve Stagner, Mattress Firm's President and CEO, believes the company's support of research at the Phoenix-based TGen will provide employees the opportunity to change lives and raise awareness of pancreatic cancer with every customer interaction.
To launch its national alignment with TGen's globalCure, Mattress Firm is partnering with Simmons Bedding Co., makers of Beautyrest mattresses, in a promotion that will donate $50 to globalCure for every Simmons Beautyrest dual floor sample sold nationwide at nearly 700 Mattress Firm stores from April 6 through April 17. The goal is to raise more than $100,000 for globalCure.
"Not only will we participate in local and national events to raise funds that support the research at TGen, but we will also use opportunities to educate our customers and communities about pancreatic cancer and the globalCure effort. Awareness is the key to progress, and we have the opportunity to make a significant impact in our lifetime," Stagner said.
GlobalCure national advisory committee member Jai Pausch praised Stagner and the Houston-based mattress retailer. Pausch became a national advocate for pancreatic cancer following the death of her husband, Randy, a Carnegie Mellon professor and author of the bestselling book, The Last Lecture.
"As an advocate who understands how devastating pancreatic cancer can be for patients and their families, I applaud Mattress Firm's commitment to globalCure, and their effort to bring much needed resources and attention to our fight," Pausch said.
Stagner said he hopes that Mattress Firm'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.
"We have the opportunity to educate our customers about our efforts beyond the sales floor. We have the opportunity to get involved and engaged with our communities, and impact the lives of over 43,000 Americans that are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year," Stagner said.
Pancreatic cancer is the nation's fourth leading cause of cancer death, and is the only one of the 10 most deadly cancers with a survival rate in the single digits. Nearly 75 percent of the estimated 43,000 Americans diagnosed annually die within the first year. Only 6 percent survive longer than five years. Less than 2 percent of the National Cancer Institute's federal research funding is dedicated to pancreatic cancer research.
According to Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff, TGen's Physician-In-Chief and one of the world's leading authorities on pancreatic cancer, early detection of pancreatic cancer is non-existent, the survival rate remains low, and federal funding is a trickle for a river of need.
"Discoveries directly follow funding, and pancreatic cancer receives little in comparison to the percentage of lives it takes," said Dr. Von Hoff, who leads the team of 46 physicians from around the world who form the backbone of globalCure. "Having the commitment of Mattress Firm will elevate globalCure's efforts, and the monies raised will allow us to aggressively pursue the underlying genetic causes of the disease and drive an unprecedented number of new therapeutic approaches to patient care."
Donations to globalCure enable the international team of physicians to move quickly on promising new clinical therapies. Specifically, the funds enable globalCure scientists and clinicians to: identify diagnostic biomarkers as drug targets; identify and improve new agents that affect the activity of those targets; and evaluate new agents and take the most promising ones to clinical trials for patients in advanced stages of pancreatic cancer.
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, Stearns & Foster, and Sleep to Live. Founded in 1986, Mattress Firm's purpose is to improve lives one night at a time. With more than 600 stores across 23 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.
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.
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.
TGen Senior Science Writer
Mattress Firm Communications Specialist