SEATTLE, July 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Two Seattle celebrities are going head-to-head to raise money to end childhood cancer. On July 28, Alaska's Chief Football Officer Russell Wilson and Joel McHale, star of Yahoo!'s Community and E!'s The Soup, will captain two teams competing to see which can pull a 92,000-pound Alaska Airlines 737-800 25 feet in the shortest amount of time.
"Alaska and Russell have been partnering to support Strong Against Cancer since its beginning. Over the past eight months, Alaska has donated $175,000 to support Strong," said Sangita Woerner, Alaska's vice president of marketing. "We are excited to have Joel return to his hometown to join our cause, given his deep personal connections with the Seattle area. We can't wait to cheer them both on, and win or lose, we are all on Team Strong."
While Wilson and McHale are showing their competitive stripes to win the title of "2015 Plane Pull Champion," the broader goal of the event is to build national awareness and raise money for Strong Against Cancer, a multi-year initiative dedicated to ending childhood cancer. Funds raised go directly to research in immunotherapy treatments developed by the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute. In clinical trials, this breakthrough treatment has had a 91 percent success rate.
Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, and McHale, who grew up in Mercer Island and played football for the University of Washington, will spend the next three weeks forming their dream teams from a combination of Alaska's finest maintenance and engineering employees and winners of a contest now open to Washington residents on Alaska's Facebook page. Later this month, Alaska's Seattle-area Mileage Plan members will be invited via email to purchase tickets to cheer on their favorite team from the bleachers. All proceeds will benefit Strong Against Cancer.
Fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite team by texting "TEAMJOEL" or "TEAMRUSSELL" to 501501 to donate $10 to Strong Against Cancer,* and follow along with the fun using the hashtag #AlaskaPlanePull on Twitter and Instagram. [Texting charges may apply depending on the carrier.]
Wilson was named Alaska's honorary CFO – 'Chief Football Officer' – in 2013. Together, the airline and the quarterback are engaging with Alaska's customers and supporting youth in the community through events like the Russell Wilson Passing Academy, as well as the efforts with Strong Against Cancer.
Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE :ALK ), together with its partner regional airlines, serves more than 100 cities through an expansive network in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers in North America" in the J.D. Power North American Airline Satisfaction Study for eight consecutive years from 2008 to 2015. Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan also ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Airline Loyalty Rewards Programs" in the J.D. Power 2014 and 2015 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report. For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit Alaska Airlines' newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.
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.
SOURCE Alaska Airlines