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Community Giving: On Deck for a Cause Partnerships Support Cancer Research

Holland America Line has a proud history of supporting the fight against cancer. Since 2006, the company has raised nearly $4 million for cancer research. In recognition of our contribution to the ongoing battle against the disease, American Cancer Society invited a breast cancer survivor from Holland America Line to attend the Oct. 12 NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field. The honor went to Fleet Training Specialist Sue Dickens, a 17-year cancer survivor — and a 17-year Holland America Line employee — who attended with her husband.

Each October – which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – ACS partners with the NFL on a breast cancer awareness campaign called A Crucial Catch. A Crucial Catch gives ACS the opportunity to engage the league, its teams, players and millions of fans and their communities in the fight to end breast cancer.

Left photo: Sue Dickens (in pink vest) with Sarah Lien, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed at the age of 24. Lien was the featured speaker at a shipboard luncheon held in Seattle in September aboard ms Amsterdam for Komen Puget Sound.

Left photo: Sue Dickens (in pink vest) with Sarah Lien, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed at the age of 24. Lien was the featured speaker at a shipboard luncheon held in Seattle in September aboard ms Amsterdam for Komen Puget Sound.

Breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer (excluding skin) and second leading cause of cancer death in women. More than 2.9 million Americans who are surviving breast cancer will celebrate a birthday this year thanks in part to the American Cancer Society and supporters like the NFL and Holland America Line who are helping save lives.

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On Deck for a Cause
Holland America Line continues to support all types of cancer by hosting On Deck for a Cause events on every ship, on every cruise. From Shanghai and Santiago and Canada to the Caribbean, guests and crew around the world gather on deck to make the walk among the fall foliage, palm trees and the ancient ruins.

The On Deck for a Cause program invites guests to participate in a noncompetitive 5k fundraising walk on every sailing of the line’s ships, with proceeds distributed among the American Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer Council Australia, Cancer Research UK, Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid) and KWF Kankerbestrijding (Dutch Cancer Society). These walks take place on more than 500 cruises each year.

On Deck for a Cause events happen on every sailing throughout the year.

On Deck for a Cause events happen on every sailing throughout the year.

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Community Giving Events in Seattle
Each year Holland America Line hosts more than 25 shipboard charity luncheons for nearly 5,000 guests in its homeport cities. Seattle, home to the company’s headquarters and one of the main departure ports for Alaska cruises, hosted seven events during the 2014 season.

The luncheons were held aboard various Holland America Line ships while alongside, and during the Seattle events the ships welcomed a total of 1,574 luncheon attendees and raised more than $100,000 for a variety of nonprofit community organizations.

In 2014, the first Seattle event was held in June aboard ms Westerdam for the American Cancer Society, one of the line’s “On Deck for a Cause” shipboard giving program partners.

In July ms Amsterdam welcomed attendees aboard for Seattle Children’s Hospital’s “Summer Luncheon and Wine Tasting” fundraising event. A special lunch was prepared in the Pinnacle Grill that was enhanced by wine pairings from three local Washington state wineries.

August was the busiest month for charitable luncheons in Seattle, with ms Westerdam hosting functions for the Seattle Theatre Group, featuring a performance by the Union Street Orchestra; the Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses, that had both groups performing for attendees in the ship’s main show lounge; and the Catholic Seafarers’ Center, where Judy Clark, a longtime Catholic Seafarers’ Center board member, was honored.

In September, ms Amsterdam welcomed the Susan G. Komen Puget Sound affiliate at a luncheon for breast cancer survivors and their co-survivors. Sarah Lien, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed at the age of 24, gave an inspirational speech to attendees.

The Susan G. Komen Puget Sound affiliate luncheon for breast cancer survivors.

The Susan G. Komen Puget Sound affiliate luncheon for breast cancer survivors.

The final event of the Seattle community giving season — as reported on the blog — was held during the Seattle Mariners’ home game at Safeco Field Sept. 27 where Holland America Line presented a $25,000 check to Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Uncompensated Care Fund. The donation was part of the company’s partnership with the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team and their “K’s for Kids” program that debuted during the 2014 baseball season.

Holland America Group CEO Stein Kruse, left, presented the $25,000 at the Seattle Mariners game. On the field with him were Seattle Children's patient Jake Finkbonner, second from left, Seattle Mariners Pitcher Félix Hernández and Jake's family.

Holland America Group CEO Stein Kruse, left, presented the $25,000 at the Seattle Mariners game. On the field with him were Seattle Children’s patient Jake Finkbonner, second from left, Seattle Mariners Pitcher Félix Hernández and Jake’s family.

In addition to the luncheons and events, Holland America Line and its corporate foundation’s charitable-giving programs include cash sponsorships, in-kind donations, free- and reduced-fare cruise donations for nonprofit fundraising events, donations of usable shipboard items around the world, employee volunteerism and other philanthropic activities.

In May, Holland America Line won the “Global Giving” award, one of eight Healthy Community Corporate Champion Awards presented by the Puget Sound Business Journal in partnership with The Seattle Foundation. The company was nominated by Mercy Corps for engaging employees, guests and crew to support Filipino families affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines Nov. 8, 2013.

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