News Release:

Dec. 22,  2011

Buffalo's Cafe "The Fight Takes Flight" Campaign Donates $40,000 to Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

With a giving heart and creative mind, Buffalo’s Cafe employees collected $40,000 for cancer research, doing such things as serving pink tortilla chips, wearing poodle skirts, washing cars, holding a golf tournament and dying their hair pink.

About 40 Buffalo’s employees from across the state gathered at Winship recently to celebrate the achievement of their goal and to present a check for $40,000 to Winship’s executive director, Walter J. Curran Jr., MD.

“The way you serve as our ambassadors really touches us,” Curran told the group before they headed off for tours of Winship to see the labs and clinical spaces that their donation would be aiding. Curran noted that it may not be unusual for companies to select a hospital, research center or cause to raise money for. What is unusual, he said, “is the total commitment that Buffalo’s puts behind this and the passion that the employees have for raising money for cancer research.”

Buffalo’s adopted Winship as its charity partner in 2010 and set aside the month of October to raise funds for cancer research. Buffalo’s raised $30,000 for Winship that first year. The restaurant chain, which opened in metro Atlanta in 1985, reached a goal of raising $10,000 more in 2011. That happened with a lot of heart – and hard work.

“We really pushed hard and got outside the box,” said Amanda Aultman, director of franchise and guest relations for Buffalo’s. Using the slogan, “The Fight Takes Flight,” Buffalo’s offered generous incentives to employees, such as iPads, TVs and a cruise for the person who raised the most money. The restaurant group donated to Winship a portion of proceeds from the sale of selected appetizers during the month of October and provided guests an additional opportunity to donate at check-out. The restaurant group even used billboard space on I-75 and I-85 to promote its fundraising for Winship.

With such support from the restaurant group and store owners, employees enthusiastically followed suit, with one wearing a pink poodle skirt to work after he reached a new fundraising goal.

“They tell me I look good in a dress,” said Donnie Blackmon, a bartender and server at the Rome, Ga. Buffalo’s and this year’s leading fundraiser. “They also tell me I have to wear a tu-tu next year.”

For Blackmon, the fight against cancer is personal. His father died of lung cancer in 1993, and his mother died on Thanksgiving Day of this year. He also lost a close friend at age 23 to lymphoma.

“Cancer is the same monster, no matter the body part,” he said. “If all I have to do is open my mouth to ask for money to try to help in the fight against it, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

At Winship, Buffalo’s employees, some of whom traveled from as far away as Macon and Rome, got a glimpse of Georgia’s largest Phase I Clinical Trials Unit, led by R. Donald Harvey, PharmD. They also toured the Patient and Family Resource Center and the Cell Imaging and Microscopy core lab of Adam Marcus, PhD.

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is Georgia’s only NCI-designated cancer research institution, meaning that it has passed rigorous standards for care and research established by the National Cancer Institute.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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