Pink Ribbon Bagel Campaign will benefit the Connecticut Sports Foundation to help Connecticut families battling breast cancer.
Panera will also support a new RuthAnn Lobo Award in Social Work at UConn.
Hartford, CT – September 30, 2013 – Panera Bread announces a new partnership with Rebecca Lobo that will support the Connecticut Sports Foundation and a new RuthAnn Lobo Award in Social Work at UConn, two areas that complement the life and work of Rebecca’s late mother, RuthAnn Lobo. The partnership will kick off in October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Panera Bread’s Pink Ribbon Bagel campaign, which is now marking its 12th year. Panera Bread bakery-cafes in Connecticut* will donate 25 cents from each Pink Ribbon Bagel purchased during the month of October to the Connecticut Sports Foundation, which provides funds to families battling cancer to help pay their household bills, including rent, mortgage and car payments.
Rebecca formed a relationship with the Connecticut Sports Foundation (CSF) earlier this year when she was invited to participate in the 26th Annual CSF Celebrity Dinner and Memorabilia Auction at Mohegan Sun. She was the first featured female athlete among past and present sports celebrities, which have included Yogi Berra, Don Zimmer, Goose Gossage, Joe Girardi, Mariano Rivera, Joe Torre, Robinson Cano, David Robertson, Hank Aaron, Don Mattingly Evan Longoria, Mike Golic, Merril Hoge, Paul Pasqualoni, Steve Levy and Bobby Valentine. This is CSF’s signature annual event and raises over a half-million dollars to help cancer patients and their families throughout Connecticut.
Rebecca Lobo is an American television basketball analyst and former women's basketball player in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) from 1997 to 2003, and UConn’s 1995 national championship team. She is the daughter of RuthAnn Lobo, a long-time breast cancer survivor who lost her battle after 18 years. Panera Bread’s Marketing Director, Wendy Kopp approached Rebecca for this campaign in tribute to RuthAnn. “As a UConn grad and Connecticut native, I, like numerous others throughout the state admired the story of Rebecca and RuthAnn Lobo. Once Rebecca and I started talking about the partnership, we began collaborating on ideas to combine a series of good causes with one goal: helping others in need,” said Kopp.
A Simsbury resident and a retired school counselor at Granby Memorial Middle School, RuthAnn Lobo emerged as a tireless advocate and inspiration for women whose lives had been interrupted by breast cancer. She was the Title IX compliance coordinator for the Granby school district and served on the State Advisory Board for Equity. In 1990, RuthAnn Lobo was named teacher of the year in Granby and was a finalist for Connecticut teacher of the Year. In 1996, RuthAnn and Rebecca Lobo wrote the book, The Home Team, in which they chronicled how they dealt with RuthAnn’s cancer diagnosis. RuthAnn Lobo eventually underwent a mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy.
Rebecca Lobo commented, “My mother's nurses were so important to her. They were the ones who held her hand and were by her side for so many years.” In 2001, Rebecca launched the RuthAnn and Rebecca Lobo Scholarship for Hispanic students admitted to the UConn School of Allied Health. Amy Chesmer, Senior Director of Development for the UConn Foundation, was instrumental in the creation of this fund and to the founding of the new RuthAnn Lobo Award in Social Work. “This fund supports educating the next generation of hospital-based social workers working with cancer patients. The UConn School of Social Work places students under the supervision of social workers working in state agencies, hospitals, private practice and non-profits. So, this scholarship award will celebrate the tireless support that social workers give to their patients. Panera Bread is the first contributor to this scholarship fund, which will enable students to earn a stipend while achieving their clinical hours requirement. It is a perfect tribute to the mission of the Connecticut Sports Foundation as well, because they rely on social workers to connect their services to cancer patients in need,” said Chesmer.
The Connecticut Sports Foundation, inspired by the RuthAnn Lobo Award in Social Work, will also present a new “Social Worker of the Year Award” in 2014. This award will be granted to one social worker who stands out for advocacy, passion and dedication to his/her patients. The “Social Worker of the Year” will be chosen by CSF and honored at the 2014 Annual Dinner and Memorabilia Auction to be held at Mohegan Sun on February 7, 2014. The 2014 event will feature New York Yankee Mark Teixeira, among other celebrities. For more information about the Connecticut Sports Foundation, please visit, www.sportsfoundation.org.
“I am excited about this partnership spearheaded by Panera Bread and how it will benefit multiple charities near and dear to my heart,” said Lobo. We look forward to the support of Connecticut residents joining in and helping others throughout the State.”
The Pink Ribbon Bagel is baked fresh daily in each of Panera Bread’s bakery-cafes and features cherry chips, dried cherries, cranberries, vanilla, honey and brown sugar.
*The participating Connecticut Panera Bread locations for the Pink Ribbon Bagel are located in Hartford, Manchester, Glastonbury, Farmington, Newington, Canton, Bristol, Wethersfield, West Hartford, Enfield, Groton, Foxwoods Resort & Casino, Lisbon and Waterford. These locations are among the twenty-six bakery-cafes owned and operated by leading franchisee, Howley Bread Group, LTD, based in Cumberland, RI. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the company’s web site at www.panerabreadhbg.com.