RPCI and Dunkin’ Donuts Unveil Limited Edition Mug of Hope

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Local Franchisees Launch Effort to Raise $100,000 for Roswell Park

BUFFALO, NY - Amanda and Shannon have a lot in common. For one, they both love art. They also endured months of intense chemotherapy treatment – together. They are two of Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s artists from The Paint Box Project, and they have left their handprint – literally – on the newest Paint Box gift unveiled today, the first-edition Dunkin’ Donuts “bottomless” cup of coffee, “Mug of Hope.

The limited edition mug is on sale now through The Paint Box Project website for $100, and entitles purchasers to unlimited free coffee from participating Western New York Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants from date of purchase through December 31, 2010 – a value estimated at more than $500 if used daily, and even more if purchasers “run on Dunkin’ in 2010.” All proceeds benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and with a limited supply of just 1,000 mugs, Dunkin’ Donuts expects to raise $100,000 for Roswell Park.  The mugs are ideal holiday gifts for coffee lovers.

Dunkin’ Brands Chairman Jon L. Luther (pictured, above left), along with local Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees, Roswell’s staff, and artists from The Paint Box Project gathered for the special unveiling of the bottomless “Mug of Hope.” The stainless-steel travel mug showcases artwork from five Paint Box artists, and features snowflakes, handprints, a view of the world, and, of course, Buffalo. 

“As a Buffalo native, I can think of no better cause than to help celebrate the 20th year of the Paint Box Project,” said Luther.  “We know that the Paint Box Project brings the healing power of art to young cancer patients and survivors - and we are thrilled that we can use their artwork on our Mug of Hope to help raise funds and awareness for Roswell Park.”

This year marks the Paint Box Project’s 20th anniversary. The project has raised more than $7.4 million since its beginning. What started out as gift cards during the holidays has grown into something bigger and even more special.

"This anniversary marks two decades of inspiration, friendships and messages of hope conveyed since our volunteers began the program,” said Donald L. Trump, MD, President and CEO of Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “We honor and take pride in the young artists who are surviving cancer and have gone on to colleges and careers. We look back on card designs from past collections and remember the children who lost their cancer battles. And we take heart in the knowledge that this program will raise needed funds to help save lives in the future. We are extremely grateful to welcome Dunkin’ Donuts as a new partner in these efforts.”

Shannon, who is 14, continues her fight against Ewing’s sarcoma, one she has been fighting since the cancer returned last year.

"When she found out the cancer was back, she shaved her head right away,” said her father, Don. “She is ready to take this on.”

While Shannon continues her fight, she and her family still rely on The Paint Box Project community for support, advice and comfort.

"It is so important for us to have a place where we know people will understand what we’re going through,” said Don. “I may never know what it feels like to have cancer, but The Paint Box Project gives us the foundation of support we need to fight alongside Shannon.”

And 15-year-old Amanda, a talented sculptor and painter, finished her chemotherapy and is concentrating on high school and her dream of becoming an art teacher or an artist when she grows up. Her mother, Debbie, said that The Paint Box Project has been an important source of support for the whole family.

"The Paint Box Project is a way for us to give back to Roswell Park," said Debbie. "I think Amanda will stay involved for a long time."

Other artists featured on the stainless-steel travel mug include:

Karisa, age 11 (Buffalo)
In just a year since her “Lake Effect Buffalo” ornament premiered in The Paint Box Project’s collection, a lot has changed for young Karisa. She finished treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, picked up a fun new hobby—playing the clarinet—and has even changed her mind about what she wants to be when she grows up. These days, she’s looking forward to being an Egyptologist!

“We’re very proud to see Karisa’s artwork in The Paint Box Project’s collection again,” said Melissa, Karisa’s mother. “Now that’s she done with treatment, life is really getting back to normal for her. But going to art parties meant a lot to her when she was sick, and they continue to be a big part of her life now that she’s in remission.”

Allie, age 10 (Snowflakes)
Allie’s mother, Lisa, first learned about The Paint Box Project long before their family had any firsthand experience with Roswell Park.

As a sixth-grade teacher at Hoover Middle School in Tonawanda, NY, Lisa taught Taylor, a cancer survivor and long-time contributor to The Paint Box Project.

“I bought the tote bag and the cards to support Taylor,” said Lisa. “But at that point, I never would have thought that our family would one day be so closely connected to The Paint Box Project.”

And then, after a series of bad viruses, fevers and mysterious aches and pains, Allie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 8. She began intense chemotherapy at Roswell Park. It was during this time that Allie became involved with The Paint Box Project.

“At the beginning of her treatment, Allie couldn’t keep up with her favorite sports and activities,” said Lisa. “So she really embraced the opportunity to continue with another favorite pastime—art—with Paint Box.”
Now ten years old, Allie is still in the maintenance stage of treatment, but things are looking better every day for the young girl, who returned to her softball team and cheerleading squad—and who still loves going to art parties.

Joseph, age 13 (World and people with flags)
Joseph was very young when his experience with cancer began—he was just 11 months old when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He endured intense treatments until the age of four, when, thankfully, he was given a clean bill of health.

Even though he had finished treatment successfully, Joseph and his family felt compelled to stay involved with the cause. The Paint Box Project gave them that opportunity.

“Joseph really appreciated being around children that had gone through the same thing he had,” said his mother, Mary. “And even at such a young age, he knew Paint Box was his chance to help other children with cancer.”

In fact, Mary’s encounters with other Paint Box Project families helped her appreciate the altruistic nature of children whose lives have been touched by cancer.

“It was very eye-opening to see that even very young children understand that this was the best way for them to help their fellow patients,” said Mary. “And the families know that, too. I wish I could be a scientist and help find a cure, but I’m not. With The Paint Box Project, I can do my part to help.”

Now a busy, creative 13-year-old, Joseph and his family remain dedicated to staying involved with The Paint Box Project for as long as it takes.

The mugs are available at www.paintboxproject.com, along with many other cards and gifts inspired by the patients’ artwork. Mugs can be found by clicking on “Gifts”. Interested buyers can also call 1.800.959.5931.

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Media Contact: 

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org