Katie Couric Joins Merck and Cancer Advocates to Support Patients and Caregivers Through the Expansion of Your Cancer Game Plan (YCGP)


May 9, 2019 6:00 am ET

YCGP’s “With Love, Me” Letters Campaign Brings Together Cancer Survivors and Caregivers to Share Their Heartfelt Personal Stories with Others on WithLoveMe.com

Join Katie Couric, Jim Kelly and Others on Social Media to Share a #WithLoveMe Message to Support Another Cancer Survivor or Caregiver

KENILWORTH, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Merck today announced a collaboration with journalist, author and
longtime cancer advocate, Katie Couric, to launch “With Love, Me,” a new
feature of Merck’s U.S. patient awareness campaign, Your Cancer Game
. Couric will join the program, which showcases a series of
heartfelt letters on WithLoveMe.com written by caregivers and cancer
survivors to their former selves touching upon what they wished they had
known – or needed to hear – when they were first coping with a cancer

“A cancer diagnosis can be life-shattering. Having lost both my husband
Jay and sister Emily to this disease, as well as my mother-in-law and
too many friends, I know firsthand how traumatic and isolating it can
be,” said Couric. “Finding a community of people going through similar
situations can be incredibly useful and comforting to patients and
caregivers alike. I’m thrilled to work with Merck to share these
firsthand accounts, and I hope they will help families navigate these
challenging situations and feel less alone.”

In collaboration with more than a dozen patient advocacy groups, Merck
developed “With Love, Me” to help people facing cancer who want to learn
and connect with others who have gone through similar experiences.
Shared experiences have a powerful way of connecting people, especially
when it comes to cancer. Learning what it’s like, or what to possibly
expect, as a patient or caregiver through another’s journey can allay
fears and anxieties and may even help prepare for the future. As part of
the campaign, everyone is encouraged to share their #WithLoveMe message
on social media because each personal cancer experience may help someone
else on their journey with cancer.

“Partnering with Katie was an obvious choice, given her life’s passion
for increasing education, advocacy and awareness of cancer,” said Jill
DeSimone, senior vice president, oncology at Merck. “‘With Love, Me’
brings an incredible wealth of shared experiences from people who
understand firsthand what it is like to go through the challenges of
having cancer. We believe Katie – as an impassioned storyteller and
someone who has been personally impacted by the disease – will elevate
these stories to help support others faced with cancer.”

Couric joins Pro Football Hall of Famer and longtime Your Cancer Game
spokesperson Jim Kelly in an effort to generate stories from
people impacted by cancer. As part of the program, Kelly wrote his own
letter about his battle with head and neck cancer. Part of his letter

“Today, you begin a long battle with cancer. You will beat it – but it
will return not once, but twice. You will doubt your ability to stay
tough. Don’t give up. It will not be easy, and it will not be fun, but
you will get through it.”

About Your Cancer Game Plan

Your Cancer Game Plan is a national awareness effort to help
people with cancer and their loved ones take an active role in
developing a “game plan” to support the emotional, health and
communication challenges of living with cancer.

Cancer survivors including Pro Football Hall of Famer and head and neck
cancer survivor Jim Kelly and lung cancer survivor and patient advocate
Taylor Bell Duck joined Your Cancer Game Plan in 2017 and 2018,
respectively, to share their stories and tools to help others affected
by cancer.

The “Make Your Own Game Plan” feature allows people with cancer and
their loved ones to explore the program’s resources most relevant to
their personal experience with cancer, including videos from cancer
survivors, communication tips, coping strategies, and health and
nutritional information. Your Cancer Game Plan is a partnership
between Merck and the cancer advocacy community. To learn more, visit www.YourCancerGamePlan.com.

About Katie Couric

Katie Couric (@katiecouric) is an award-winning journalist, Stand Up to
Cancer (SU2C) co- founder, and New York Times best-selling author. Since
launching, more than $603 million has been pledged to support SU2C’s
innovative cancer research programs.

She is also founder of Katie Couric Media (KCM), which is actively
involved in developing and producing a range of scripted and
non-scripted projects. The female-driven company is also working with
brands that are aligned with its goal of creating premium content about
socially relevant issues. Additionally, Couric has developed numerous
documentaries that explore pertinent issues concerning our nation at

Couric joined CBS as the first woman to solo anchor an evening newscast
after a 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC’s Today Show. Her numerous
awards include a duPont-Columbia, Peabody, two Edward R. Murrows, a
Walter Cronkite Award, and multiple Emmys.

Merck’s Focus on Cancer

Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology
medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential
to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and
supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. As
part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the
potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development
programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also
continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and
are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology
candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced
cancers. For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.

About Merck

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical
company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been
inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of
the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription
medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we
work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver
innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to
increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs
and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of
research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that
threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer,
cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease
and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information,
visit www.merck.com
and connect with us on Twitter,
and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the
“company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of
the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs
and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to
significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove
inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may
differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry
conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest
rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of
pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the
United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost
containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained
by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development,
including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to
accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties
or delays; financial instability of international economies and
sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents
and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to
litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any
forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results
to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking
statements can be found in the company’s 2018 Annual Report on Form 10-K
and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).

Teresa Mueller
(908) 740-1884

Christiana Pascale
(212) 257-6722

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