THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., May 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Amgen today announced that four individuals who are an inspiration for others affected by cancer have been selected as Breakaway from Cancer® Champions. They will be honored as part of Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer national initiative, designed to raise awareness of the important resources available to those impacted by cancer – from prevention to survivorship – during the ninth annual Amgen Tour of California, the nation's largest and most prestigious professional cycling race, which takes place May 11-18, 2014.
In addition, Amgen has launched an effort to build the world's largest cancer support team. Visit the Breakaway from Cancer booth in the Amgen Tour of California Lifestyle Festival located near the finish line in each race finish city and have your photo taken to join the team, go to the Breakaway from Cancer Facebook page and leave a message in support of cancer survivors, or use "hashtag" "breakaway" (# breakaway) to be part of the movement.
"Amgen is leading the race to dramatically improve people's lives through our national initiative, Breakaway from Cancer," explained Ray Jordan, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at Amgen. "Amgen is truly honored to recognize cancer survivors during the Amgen Tour of California as well as provide information about important resources for those affected by cancer and their support teams through our collaboration with Breakaway from Cancer's four nonprofit partners. Similar to the sport of cycling where it takes a team to achieve success, one person alone cannot beat cancer."
The 2014 Breakaway from Cancer Champions were selected by Amgen on behalf of Breakaway from Cancer and will be honored and celebrated during the "Breakaway Mile," a special walk to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide at the Amgen Tour of California finish line in four cities prior to the day's finish of the professional race. The four Breakaway from Cancer Champions are:
- Sacramento – Eve Bukowski (from Davis, Calif.). Faith in herself, a strong support network of family, friends, and doctors, and dreams of a future with her children are what have kept Bukowski fighting through the past more than six years of battling colon cancer.
- Cambria – Heather Schumm (from Atascadero, Calif.). Schumm is passionate about spending her time inspiring others and giving back through the very organizations that gave to her while she was battling breast cancer.
- Santa Barbara – Jack Bianchi (from Santa Barbara, Calif.). Bianchi has been in remission 22 years and, in that time, has helped raise more than $1.5 million for cancer programs in the Santa Barbara area. Bianchi dedicates his time to organizing events to raise money for the Santa Barbara Cancer Center and other cancer organizations.
- Thousand Oaks – Lynn Buchanan (from Newbury Park, Calif.). Buchanan was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988, and then again in 2012. Now that her treatments are complete, she volunteers and raises money so that cancer patients and survivors in her community can continue to have a sanctuary of their own to visit.
Involved with Breakaway from Cancer since 2007, actor Patrick Dempsey continues to partner with Amgen to raise awareness about resources that are available to those impacted by cancer.
"My mother battled ovarian cancer for 18 years and her courage and my family's experience in rallying around her motivated me to make a difference," explained Dempsey. "In fact, in 2008 we founded the Dempsey Cancer Center for Hope & Healing in Maine, and I'm very proud of what we've been able to do for the people in Maine and across the country through Breakaway from Cancer. I look forward to continuing to work together to help others."
Also lending her support to Breakaway from Cancer is actress Katherine Kelly Lang, who stars in the CBS soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful" and also frequently competes in triathlons. Lang, who lost her father to colon cancer, joined the Breakaway Mile in Sacramento.
Both Lang and Dempsey will be on hand for the Breakaway Mile in Thousand Oaks on May 18.
At the Stage 3 start in San Jose, Amgen will feature a Breakaway Tribute Moment when the professional cyclists will wear a commemorative number to honor someone in their life impacted by cancer.
Amgen is also celebrating and honoring cancer survivors at the start of the race each day with the official start gun being fired by a cancer survivor. And, at the conclusion of each stage of the Amgen Tour of California, the Breakaway from Cancer Champion or a local cancer survivor will present Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey.
About Breakaway from Cancer
Amgen is leading the race to dramatically improve people's lives through its national initiative, Breakaway from Cancer. Founded in 2005 by Amgen, Breakaway from Cancer aims to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer – from prevention through survivorship. Breakaway from Cancer is a collaboration between Amgen and four nonprofit partner organizations: Prevent Cancer Foundation, Cancer Support Community, Patient Advocate Foundation, and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. These organizations offer a broad range of support services complementing those provided by a patient's team of healthcare professionals. For more information, please visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com or follow us on www.twitter.com/breakawaycancer.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be the world's largest independent biotechnology company, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential. For more information, visit www.amgen.com and follow us on www.twitter.com/amgen.
About the Amgen Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California's iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions. More information is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
CONTACT: Amgen, Thousand Oaks
Kristen Davis, 805-447-3008 (media)