Lights! Camera! Action! Head to the movies and help fight cancer by supporting the Jimmy Fund

Theater fundraising program celebrates 60th anniversary with new short film

June 12, 2009

Coming to a movie theater near you this summer — the chance to join in the fight against cancer by supporting the Jimmy Fund/Variety Children's Charity Theatre Collections Program. From June 12 to July 26, participating National Amusements theaters throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, will show an emotionally powerful new movie trailer entitled Stronger than Ever prior to the movies. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday during those dates, volunteers will pass canisters through the audience after the screening, giving them the opportunity to contribute towards the goal of raising more than $600,000 for the Jimmy Fund.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Theater Collections Program is the Jimmy Fund's oldest fundraising effort to support lifesaving cancer research and care at New England's top cancer center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Stronger than Ever chronicles the journey of Dan Pardi, a pediatric cancer survivor as he returns to Dana-Farber, 14 years after being treated there for leukemia. The new film is based on an earlier trailer that featured Pardi, and other Jimmy Fund Clinic patients, posting written messages, including their names, on the clinic windows for the iron workers who are constructing a Dana-Farber research building across the street. The iron workers, members of Boston Iron Workers Union Local 7 see the signs and, without being prompted, spray paint the children's names on beams in the new structure, immortalizing the patients forever. The film's message is clear — small contributions help save lives.

Flash forward nine years. The new trailer, also produced by Cronin and Company of Glastonbury, Conn., features Pardi, now a 21-year old college student, joining current Dana-Farber patients in watching the iron workers spray paint their names on the steel beams of what will become Dana-Farber's new clinical building, the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care. "The new trailer depicts a powerful and emotional message, one that celebrates a person beating his cancer yet illustrates the need for continued support of cancer research," says Mike Andrews, chairman of the Jimmy Fund.

The Theatre Collections Program first hit the big screens in 1949 to support lifesaving cancer research. In its early years, the Theatre Program attracted the support of such stars as Jimmy Cagney, Loretta Young, Bing Crosby, and baseball's Ted Williams. Today the Theatre Collections Program relies on the help and support of the community and volunteers.

Volunteers are needed to help pass canisters and will receive gifts, such as T-shirts or Red Sox tickets, depending on the amount of time they commit to the program.

"We are so grateful for the volunteers who selflessly take time out of their schedules to help with the Theatre Collections Program," says Andrews. "We literally could not run the program without them."

The Jimmy Fund supports the fight against cancer at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for children and adults with cancer around the world. Since 1948, the generosity of millions of people has helped the Jimmy Fund save countless lives by furthering cancer research and care. Unrestricted support from the Jimmy Fund is an integral part of Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer, a $1 billion capital campaign to accelerate cancer research, speed development of life-saving therapies, and expand the Institute's signature patient- and family-centered care.

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