MILWAUKEE, July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Eight-year-old Addison has a message for cancer: "You messed with the wrong kid!" Addison bravely battled against leukemia last year. He is one of approximately 1,500 individuals being supported by Northwestern Mutual's Childhood Cancer Program and its nonprofit partners, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and Starlight Children's Foundation.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/59531-northwestern-mutual-s-childhood-cancer-program-helps-families-travel

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130702/MM41558)  

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130206/CG55426LOGO)

Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children age 15 and under in the U.S., yet childhood cancer research and support services are vastly underfunded. That's why Northwestern Mutual launched its philanthropic program in July 2012, to help kids such as Addison and their family members by accelerating the search for cures to childhood cancers and providing support to families facing the daily struggles of this disease.

In less than one year, the company's philanthropic efforts have contributed $1.4 million in the fight against childhood cancer, which includes helping more than 200 families travel and stay together during their children's cancer treatments and funding nearly 13,000 hours of critical research projects.

"Finding promising treatments for the children and families affected by childhood cancer is so critical in changing the long-term outcomes for these diseases," said John Kordsmeier, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. "From visiting hospitals and research labs to meeting the families that are affected, our financial representatives and our employees are rallying around our cause to support childhood cancer programs in the communities where we work and live."

The childhood cancer program supports Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation's cutting edge research program, funding important projects searching for better treatments and cures for all childhood cancers. The company's support of Alex's Travel Fund enables families to receive vital, specialized treatments from pediatric cancer hospitals by covering costly travel and lodging expenses.

The childhood cancer program also eases the challenging hospital experience for families with its nonprofit partner, Starlight Children's Foundation. Northwestern Mutual representatives in various communities deliver Starlight Fun Center®™ mobile entertainment units and Starlight Tablets™ to children in their hospital rooms, offering much-needed fun and distraction from medical treatments.

Children and families can also escape their medical worries by attending Starlight Great Escapes®™ events, which provide families with quality time away from the hospital, from which they return with a renewed sense of strength, hope and community.

In the childhood cancer program's first year, the company leveraged its local offices throughout the country to implement 139 fundraising and awareness activities across 35 states. As a result, nearly one-third of the total $1.4 million contributed came from local offices.

On July 21, the company will mark this milestone by raising funds for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation during its annual Roots and Wings Race taking place during the company's annual meeting in Milwaukee and announce upcoming plans for the childhood cancer program.

The childhood cancer program's plans for year two include:

  • Commissioning a new study to identify some of the drivers and barriers affecting childhood cancer research;
  • Launching two social media campaigns in 2013, one in conjunction with National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month -- in September -- and the other during the holiday season;
  • Sponsoring the inaugural Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Young Investigator Summit in October. The Summit will provide an opportunity for Alex's Young Investigator Grants recipients to explore scientific collaboration, forge new relationships, and interact with the leading researchers in the pediatric oncology field;
  • Providing additional funding for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation's Travel Fund to help families offset the cost of travel to hospitals and medical centers across the country; and 
  • Ongoing support for the fight against childhood cancer in the company's hometown of Milwaukee, Wis. through community partnerships and activities.

The childhood cancer program builds upon the company's legacy of improving the lives of children and families. For more information about Northwestern Mutual and its philanthropic efforts, visit www.nmfoundation.com.

About Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual is among the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies in 2013 according to FORTUNE® magazine and has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 156 years. As a mutual company with $1.4 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual has no shareholders. The company focuses solely and directly on its clients and seeks to deliver consistent and dependable value to them over time.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, and its subsidiaries. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.

About the Northwestern Mutual Foundation
The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation – the largest corporate foundation in Wisconsin – is to build strong, vibrant communities that serve as a legacy to future generations. The Foundation's giving is designed to create an impact on the communities where the company's employees and financial representatives live and work. In fiscal year 2013, the Foundation will contribute $16.9 million to nonprofit organizations across the country.

About Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra "Alex" Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $60 million toward fulfilling Alex's dream of finding a cure, funding over 300 pediatric cancer research projects nationally. For more information on Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, visit www.AlexsLemonade.org.

About Starlight Children's Foundation
Over the past 30 years, Starlight Children's Foundation has become a leading global charity that partners with experts to improve the life and health of kids and families around the world. Collaborating with innovators in pediatric healthcare, entertainment and technology, Starlight provides a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home. Starlight partners with more than 1,750 healthcare facilities and pediatric hospitals in Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, serving millions of children every year. To learn more, visit www.starlight.org, or follow us at facebook.com/StarlightChildrensFoundation and twitter.com/StarlightOnline.

SOURCE Northwestern Mutual