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Chicago, Ill., April 29, 2004 -- Volunteers from Bankers Life and Casualty Company offices throughout the United States will take to the streets on May 7-8, 2004 to raise money to fight Alzheimer's disease.
The national insurer, which created and sponsors the Forget Me Not Days street corner fundraiser with its sister company, Colonial Penn Life Insurance, Philadelphia, expects to build on the success of 2003's inaugural event. This year, volunteers will collect in 50 cities compared to six communities in the pilot event.
"Alzheimer's disease is the most feared disease among America's seniors," said Bankers President and CEO William Shea. "But, research is providing hope for people with the disease, their families and all of us."
"Bankers is a company that focuses exclusively on seniors' health and financial needs," he said. "So we are proud to do all we can to help the Alzheimer's Association fight the good fight."
Bankers, a provider of life and health insurance products for seniors, is also the premier corporate sponsor of the annual Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala. The company established the Forget Me Not Days fundraiser to increase giving and participation of its employees, who say the event has special meaning for them.
Bankers employees expect to significantly increase the amount raised last year, according to Mark Matenaer, senior manager of marketing at Bankers, who conceived the idea and heads the committee that puts on the event.
"We have a strong history of corporate giving, but this event is one-of-a-kind," said Matenaer. "Forget Me Not Days mobilizes agents and employees to go out into their communities in force for a single cause. It's pretty special."
The effort sends out volunteers clad in distinctive green Forget Me Not Days gardening aprons, to collect donations from passersby. In return, contributors receive a packet of forget-me-not seeds they are encouraged to plant in honor of the estimated 4.5 million Americans who have Alzheimer's.
This year, Bankers employees and agents will collect on the city streets of: Springdale, Ariz.; Ft. Smith, Ark.; Jonesboro, Ark.; Little Rock, Ark.; Camarillo, Calif.; Citrus Heights, Calif.; Fresno, Calif.; Modesto, Calif.; San Diego, Calif.; Van Nuys, Calif.; Lakewood, Colo.; West Hartford, Conn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Miami, Fla.; Pensacola, Fla.; Singer Island, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; Chicago, Ill.; Fairview Heights, Ill.; Palos Hills, Ill.; Lafayette, Ind.; Muncie, Ind.; Cedar Falls, Iowa; Baton Rouge, La.; South Portland, Maine; Framingham, Mass.; Mashpee, Mass.; Livonia, Mich.; Traverse City, Mich.; Duluth, Minn.; Edina, Minn.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Cary, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Concord, N.H.; Matawan, N.J.; Parsippany, N.J.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Tulsa, Okla.; Eugene, Ore.; Portland, Ore.; Erie, Pa.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Richmond, Va.; Bellevue, Wash.; University Place, Wash.; De Pere, Wis.; Germantown, Wis.; LaCrosse, Wis; Wausau, Wis.
"We are very happy to partner with the Alzheimer's Association," said Matenaer."Most of what is known about the disease has been discovered through research done in the last 15 years. It's right that our company with its focus on seniors should play a part in that effort."
The Alzheimer's Association is the largest source of private funding for Alzheimer's research and the premier source of information and support for Americans currently living with the disease. Alzheimer's affects about one in 10 people over the age of 65 and nearly 50 percent of those over 85.
"Support from friends like Bankers has allowed medical researchers to uncover many secrets of Alzheimer's. Researchers have the necessary scientific leads and information needed to achieve major breakthroughs; it's not a question of whether the disease can be prevented but rather when the Association's goal of 'A World without Alzheimer's' will be achieved, " said Ron Champagne, vice president, development for the Alzheimer's Association.
"As we continue to learn about the disease, the Association urges Americans to understand what America's medical research community has accomplished and join us in advocating for a renewed commitment to research and improved care for those with Alzheimer's." he added.
Since awarding its first grants in 1982, the Association has committed more than $150 million toward research into the causes, treatment, prevention, and cure of Alzheimer's disease. While supporting the worldwide research effort the Association also works tirelessly to enhance the quality of life for affected individuals and their families. Through its national network of chapters, it offers a broad range of programs and services for people with the disease, their families, and care partners.
The Chicago-based Alzheimer's Association is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. All of its programs and services are made possible through contributions, large and small, from individuals, corporations, and foundations.
About Bankers Life and Casualty Company
Established in 1879 and headquartered at the historic Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago, Bankers Life and Casualty Company focuses exclusively on the financial security needs of seniors. The company offers a broad portfolio of health and life insurance and retirement savings products designed especially for seniors. These products are distributed through a national network of professionally trained company agents. Visit us online at www.bankers.com.
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