Hooters Symbol Kelly Jo Dowd Passes
ATLANTA, May 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Hooters has suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of 1998 Hooters Calendar Cover Girl, Manager, and Cancer Fighting Symbol Kelly Jo Dowd, who died yesterday at her home in Palm Harbor, Florida. Kelly Jo, who was one of the original Hooters Girls at the popular chains first location in Clearwater, Florida, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and spent the last five years of her life battling this dreaded disease. Through the struggle, she was courageous and selfless, becoming an advocate for early detection, education and fundraising in the battle against breast cancer within the Hooters organization. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070525/CLF060 ) "She is our Susan G. Komen," explained Mike McNeil, Vice President of Marketing for Hooters of America. "Kelly Jo helped us break through the barriers of political correctness for Hooters with respect to breast cancer and ignited a passion for this noble cause. Because of her we have been able to address this serious women's health concern without people thinking we are insincere or opportunistic." In 2006 Hooters partnered with the V Foundation for Cancer Research and established a $2 Million Breast Cancer Research Grant in Dowd's name. The company also launched an awareness and early detection educational program using videos featuring Kelly Jo that has been viewed by thousands. For the second consecutive year, Hooters Girls across the country have been raising money for the cause through the sale of Hooters Girl Pink Uniform Cards that tell the Kelly Jo story. A check will be presented to the V Foundation in Las Vegas during the Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant on July 18th to further fund the Kelly Jo Dowd Breast Cancer Research Grant. Kelly Jo was 42 years old and is survived by husband, Mike and daughter Dakoda. Last year, 13 year old Dakoda was awarded a coveted sponsor's exemption in a LPGA Tour event in Orlando, Florida. The offer was in response to her mother's public wish to see her daughter play on the LPGA tour. ESPN covered the event and brought national attention to this emotional story and further honored the Dowd family when Dakoda's playing golf to honor her mother was selected as a "Best Moment" at the 2006 ESPY awards. Kelly Jo's efforts have affected the 17,000 current Hooters Girls as well as past and future generations. Based on the statistic that approximately 1 in 7 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, as many as 2,400 current Hooters Girls could be at risk. Clearly the company is committed to lowering these numbers. "Her generosity and love as she shared her life, has brought our Hooters family together in a way I never thought possible. We are committed as an organization to carry on the battle against cancer, which Kelly Jo so courageously began," continued McNeil. "The impact of her life will be felt for decades to come." If you would like to make a contribution to the Kelly Jo Dowd breast cancer research fund visit your local Hooters Restaurant or make checks payable to Hooters Community Endowment Fund (HOO.C.E.F.) and send it to the address below. Hooters of America, Inc. Attention: Alexis Aleshire - KJD Fund 1815 the Exchange Atlanta, GA 30339 The first Hooters opened in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida. Hooters is well known for its brand of food and fun, featuring a casual beach-theme atmosphere, a menu that features seafood, sandwiches and Hooters nearly world famous chicken wings, and service provided by the All-American cheerleaders, the Hooters Girls. For more information about Hooters visit www.hooters.com.
SOURCE Hooters of America, Inc.
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