Damon Runyon Cancer Research: Breaking Out of the Non-Profit Mold

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Damon Runyon Cancer Research: Breaking out of the non-profit mold

Faced with increasing competition for press and donor attention, a 70-year-old cancer research organization is on a mission to differentiate its approach and connect with a broad range of stakeholders.

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  • Challenge

    Distinguish the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation from the sea of other cancer-related charities by promoting its unique mission: identifying and investing in the best young scientists to prevent and cure all cancers.

  • Solution

    Promote the groundbreaking research Damon Runyon supports and the wide array of people it benefits — from scientists and doctors to cancer survivors and their families — in conjunction with a variety of cultural events that show how cancer impacts people from all walks of life.

  • Result

    Stories of real people, famous and not, bolster Damon Runyon’s press coverage and help engage would-be donors. The Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium gives voice to cancer survivors and their families, amplified by a nearly 10-fold increase in press coverage. The organization’s affiliation with Broadway takes center stage when Marin Mazzie delivers the keynote at the annual fundraising breakfast and announces an “Ambassador Program” with New York’s theater community that generates significant press attention.

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    How the Broadway Star Marin Mazzie Confronts Cancer

    In a New York Times story, Broadway star Marin Mazzie, a tireless advocate for cancer research, explains why early testing for ovarian cancer is so vital and how she works with the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation to promote scientific advancements and raise awareness of the disease

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    Son Running in Yankee Stadium 5K in Honor of 9/11 First Responder Dad who has Stage 4 Cancer

    The New York Daily News profiled Runyon Race for the Cure participant David Alvarez, who dedicated his run to his father, a retired NYPD detective and 9/11 first responder who is battling stage-4 cancer.

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    After beating cancer as a baby and seeing his mom battle it, Fitzgerald Runs for Research

    USA Today profiled Patrick Fitzgerald, a long-time cancer survivor who joined the Runyon Race for a Cure in honor of a deceased family member as well as his mother, a fellow cancer survivor.

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    Judge Officiates Daughter's Wedding Days before Cancer Death

    Only 12 days before his death, Monmouth Superior Court Judge Paul Kapalko officiated his daughter’s wedding at a bedside ceremony in his hospital room. Casey Kapalko later ran in the Runyon Race for a Cure 5K in honor of her father.