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Published on April 25, 2011

Safeway's $350,000 Gift Funds Breast Cancer Research at CU Cancer Center

A $350,000 gift from Safeway, Inc. will fund breast cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, bringing total donations from the grocer above more than $1 million since 2008.

Safeway Gift Funds Breast Cancer Research

Safeway’s Debbie Portwood (second from left) and
Kris Staaf (far right) present proceeds from their 2010
breast cancer fundraising campaign to Dr. Anthony Elias
(middle), director of the UCH breast cancer program, and
UCH Oncology Services Executive Director Strode Weaver.
At far left is Safeway store manager Eric Holmes.

The donation comes from Safeway’s October 2010 “round up your purchase” campaign at stores in five states, which raised $650,000.

Anthony Elias, MD, head of the breast cancer program at University of Colorado Hospital, said the Safeway donations have been used toward three critical elements: support for high-priority clinical trials aimed at personalized treatment of breast cancer, support for the center’s breast tissue biorepository, which provides study materials that help ensure scientific discoveries are relevant to humans, and support for small grants designed to obtain preliminary data to support a larger grant.

“These seed grants have been highly successful,” said Elias, professor of medical oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “The recipients of the first seven grants made with Safeway donations have now leveraged those smaller amounts into five major grants. We just awarded a second round of seed grants. We are currently recruiting a senior breast cancer scientist to strengthen our breast cancer effort.”

A great collaboration

Kris Staaf, Safeway director of public affairs, called the effort a great collaboration between the community, Safeway and the center.

“Thanks to the generosity of our customers and employees, we can make a difference in the fight against breast cancer,” she said. “We are grateful and humbled by the extraordinary outpouring of support for a cause that impacts so many women and families. The Safeway grants fund groundbreaking research, and we are fortunate to have partners like Dr. Elias and his team at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.”

About the University of Colorado Cancer Center

The University of Colorado Cancer Center is Colorado’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. NCI has given only 40 cancer centers this designation, deeming membership as “the best of the best.” Headquartered on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the center is a consortium of nine institutions:  University of Colorado Denver, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado State University, University of Colorado Hospital, The Children’s Hospital, Denver VA, Denver Health, National Jewish Health and Kaiser Permanente Colorado. Together our 400+ members are discovering, developing and delivering breakthroughs in cancer diagnosis, treatment and care to improve the lives of people diagnosed with cancer around the world. Learn more at

About University of Colorado Hospital

The University of Colorado Hospital is the Rocky Mountain region's leading academic medical center. It is ranked among the top 10 academic medical centers in the United States by the University HealthSystem Consortium  and is ranked as one of the country’s best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. It is best known as an innovator in patient care and often as one of the first hospitals to bring new medicine to patients’ bedsides. Based on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo., the hospital’s physicians are affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, part of the University of Colorado system.

Contact: Erika Matich at 720-848-7852 or

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