SEATTLE, WASH. – Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, on behalf of his Why Not You Foundation and the Kasey Kahne Foundation, presented a check yesterday afternoon for $400,000 to Seattle Children's Hospital and its Strong Against Cancer initiative through the $470,068 in fundraising proceeds from The DRIVE charity event co-hosted by Wilson and NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne this summer. The second edition of the charity concert, auction and golf event was held last June at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Wash. The donation to Seattle Children's Hospital will aid research that supports immunotherapy – a medical treatment that harnesses the power of a child's immune cells to fight cancer.
"I am honored to be a part of Strong Against Cancer in partnership with Kasey Kahne to help cure pediatric cancer," said Wilson, who visited with patients and families prior to the check presentation.
Wilson and Kahne started the fundraising event in 2014 to give back to the Seattle community, which included a $150,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. The $470,068 total amount raised in 2015 more than doubles the inaugural event. The remaining balance of the amount raised will again benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of King County ($10,000), plus the Kasey Kahne Foundation ($30,000) and Why Not You Foundation ($30,000) directly.
More than 500 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, country legend Johnny Lee, Chris Kirkpatrick and Joey Fatone from N'Sync, Cami Bradley from "America's Got Talent," BoysIIMen founding member Nathan Morris, and Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys. The first evening's highlight was the live auction, which involved high-stakes bidding by the generous crowd and Wilson connecting on football passes for donations to auction donors, including a long connection to Seahawks wide receiver Jerome Kearse. The next day, over 128 golfers and 32 celebrities, including NASCAR star Denny Hamlin, actor Anthony Anderson from the hit TV show Blackish, and comedian George Lopez, joined Wilson and Kahne on Suncadia Resort's Tumble Creek Golf Course.
"I always enjoy coming home to Washington, especially for The DRIVE," said Kahne, a 17-time winner on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series who grew up in nearby Enumclaw, Wash. "It is a great opportunity for me to stay connected to the community and to partner with Russell (Wilson) on such a special event and help the amazing team at Seattle Children's Hospital cure childhood cancers."
The 2015 event sold out and featured the support of many great sponsors, including presenting sponsor Aegis Living, plus major partners Farmers Insurance, Great Clips, Financial Advocates, Northwest Chevy Dealers, Virginia Mason and Pepsi.
"Aegis Living is very proud to partner with Russell Wilson and Kasey Kahne in the battle against childhood cancers," said Dwayne Clark, CEO and founder, Aegis Living. "The DRIVE was truly a success fueled by a blast of fun on the green and passion in the hearts of those who participated. It feels great to support the important research in immunotherapy at Seattle Children's Hospital because cancer touches the lives of most all of us at some stage in life. I'd definitely recommend others join in the vision next year."
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.
"We are so grateful to Russell Wilson and Kasey Kahne for the time they have spent raising money to support Strong Against Cancer," said Doug Picha, president, Seattle Children's Hospital & Research Foundation. "Their generous support will help our scientists continue the groundbreaking research they are doing with immunotherapy, which is showing great promise in putting an end to childhood cancer once and for all."
The third-annual DRIVE event is scheduled to return next year to Suncadia Resort on June 27-28, 2016.
About the Kasey Kahne Foundation
The Kasey Kahne Foundation is a 501(c) 3 committed to raising awareness and funds for charities supporting chronically ill children and their families. The KKF also strives to empower youth and inspire their future through education by donating to programs dedicated to fulfilling children's needs for success. Since 2005, Kasey has dedicated countless hours by visiting with ill children, granting their wishes and speaking to groups of school-aged children about the importance of education. To learn more about fundraising events and supporting the KKF, please visit www.kaseykahnefoundation.org.
About the Why Not You Foundation
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? Please visit the WNY Foundation's website whynotyoufdn.org/ for additional information on past and present initiatives.
About Strong Against Cancer
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. This initiative is a team effort on the part of hospitals, researchers, doctors, nurses, corporations, organizations and individuals. The captain of the team is Russell Wilson, quarterback of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, who learned about immunotherapy during his regular visits to Seattle Children's Hospital. Clinical trials for this therapy are now underway and are producing exceptional results in eliminating childhood leukemia. The aim of the Strong Against Cancer team is to create a national philanthropic initiative with worldwide implications for curing childhood cancers through these immunotherapy treatments. For more information or to make a donation, visit strongagainstcancer.org