Pro Football Hall of Famer and Cancer Survivor Jim Kelly Joins Merck to Challenge America to Raise Funds for the Cancer Community


January 31, 2018 7:00 am ET

30-Day Your Cancer Game Plan Challenge Helps Those Impacted by Cancer and the Patient Organizations That Support Them

With an estimated 1.6 million Americans diagnosed in 2017 alone, cancer
not only impacts those diagnosed but their friends and family as well.
In recognition of World Cancer Day on Sunday, Feb. 4, Merck (NYSE: MRK),
known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, along with Pro
Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is asking all Americans to join the
Cancer Game Plan


a social
awareness effort to help raise funds to support cancer patient
organizations. The 30-day effort kicked off today as part of Your
Cancer Game Plan,
a comprehensive resource from Merck and the cancer
advocacy community, to help cancer survivors and their loved ones manage
the emotional, health and communication challenges of a cancer journey.

“I know from personal experience that you can’t face a cancer diagnosis
alone and that you need access to information and resources that can
help you make a game plan to fight back,” said Kelly. “For the next
thirty days, when you share the Your Cancer Game Plan website
with your friends and family on social media, you are not only providing
a really helpful resource, but you also have the opportunity to help
raise money for patient organizations who help people deal with cancer
each and every day.”

To participate in the Challenge, Americans can visit
and share the resource – complete with videos, recipes and
communications tips – with their friends and family through their social
networks. Participants can choose their favorite cancer advocacy
organization to support, and for every social share of the resource
Merck will donate $5 to the selected organization (up to a maximum of
$200,000 total across all participating groups). The Challenge will
allow the cancer community to continue education and support to help
improve the lives of people with cancer and their loved ones.

“At Merck, we recognize the incredible support that the patient advocacy
community provides to those affected by cancer, and we want to do more
to help them help others. From online resources to in-person support
groups and even more, these groups can often be the most valuable
players in a person’s cancer game plan,” said Jill DeSimone, senior vice
president, Merck Oncology, U.S.

Cancer advocacy groups who are participating in the Your Cancer Game
Challenge, include AIM at Melanoma Foundation,
Alive and Kickn, Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN), Bonnie J.
Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF), CancerCare, Cancer
Research Institute (CRI), Colorectal Cancer Alliance (CCA), Debbie’s
Dream Foundation, Fight Colorectal Cancer, Gastric Cancer Foundation,
Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA), Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), Lung
Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA), Lung Cancer Research Foundation
(LCRF), Melanoma International Foundation (MIF), Melanoma Research
Alliance (MRA), Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), No Stomach For
Cancer and Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer

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, Pro Baseball Hall of Famer and melanoma
survivor Mike Schmidt, and lung cancer survivor and patient advocate
Taylor Bell Duck have joined Your Cancer Game Plan to share their
stories and tools to help others affected by cancer.

The new “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

About Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly began his professional football career in 1986, following two
years with the United States Football League’s Houston Gamblers. During
his 11 years with the Buffalo Bills, he led the team to six AFC East
Championships and four consecutive championship appearances. Kelly holds
the all-time professional football record for most yards gained per
completion in a single game, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall
of Fame in 2002. He became known for his motto: “You have to be ‘Kelly
tough.’” This motto, built on the importance of being physically and
mentally strong and able to bounce back from injuries, took on a new –
and more important – meaning after his cancer diagnosis.

Kelly was diagnosed with head and neck squamous cell cancer in his upper
jaw in 2013. He underwent surgery, but after a follow-up test, Kelly
found out the cancer had returned and he would need to receive further
treatment. Finally, in August 2014, doctors gave Kelly the good news
that they could no longer find evidence of cancer.

Merck’s Focus on Cancer

Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology
medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck Oncology,
helping people fight cancer is our passion and supporting accessibility
to our cancer medicines is our commitment. Our focus is on pursuing
research in immuno-oncology and we are accelerating every step in the
journey – from lab to clinic – to potentially bring new hope to people
with cancer.

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,
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 2016 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 (

Courtney Ronaldo, 908-740-6132
Christiana Pascale, 212-257-6722

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