Ten years ago, an idea formed between Children’s Cancer Association’s (CCA) VP of Development, Jennifer O’Bryan, and Genentech’s External Communication and Community Relations Manager, Jenn Klotz. It was Jenn’s first year working for Genentech, and she was looking to create a lasting impact on the community. “CCA’s mission rang true for me. Joy gives people hope. Genentech’s ability to support children and their families facing serious illness by taking them to Blazers games is a reminder to those families that their community is there for them.”
Kicking off the Basketball Season
Each year Genentech hosts their Ho-Ho event on the Genentech campus where employees can hear CCA-served families share their story and learn from Portland Trail Blazer, Meyers Leonard, about why the Blazers support CCA. It’s a chance for the employees to get involved. Many have even gone on to become amazing Chemo Pals. The event is also the kick off of the Block Out Cancer program.
Block Out Cancer
For every shot a Trail Blazer blocks, Genentech, and the Trail Blazers combine to donate $25 to CCA through Block Out Cancer. Ten years down the road and Block Out Cancer has become a staple of any Portland Trail Blazer home game. This alone has contributed an astounding $150K towards CCA’s programs, but Genentech’s support goes far beyond Block Out Cancer. Every home game, Genentech and the Blazers invite families to attend free of charge.
The Block Out Cancer program also invites CCA served families to attend a pre-game party. Along with a free meal, Trail Blazer swag, and the opportunity to experience the exclusive VIP section of the facilities, Genentech provides families the chance to interact with special guest visits from sports reporters, BlazerDancers, Blazer Alumni and Blaze himself! Of course, the families also get to enjoy the game, but the experience means so much more. It allows them the chance to create lasting memories outside the hospital together, without having to think about their treatment or their situation.
“I’ve heard many many times that these games are the ‘first time I’ve seen my child smile’ or ‘the first time I’ve seen them play’ and that means everything to us,” said Jenn.
Match of the Game
A program near and dear to their heart, Genentech puts a special spotlight on the Chemo Pal Mentor Program through Match of the Game. Chemo Pals and their mentors are displayed on the jumbotron, an experience which always earns a huge smile and helps the community to learn more about this important program.
Practice Facility Tour
Another fan favorite event is an exclusive tour of the Blazer Practice Facility led by Meyers Leonard. The families toured the gym, lockers, and even got to shoot some hoops with the players. Meyers Leonard made every kid feel like a star and showed them a fun time. Many of the kids left having found a new hero in the basketball player.
Thank You Genentech and Portland Trail Blazers
It can’t be stated enough how lucky CCA is to have the support of Genentech and the Portland Trail Blazers. Every moment of joy they have provided to seriously ill children and teens is a memory which will stay with that family forever.
You can help CCA, The Portland Trail Blazers, and Genentech to Block Out Cancer by donating today!