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WWE announces national partnership with The V Foundation to fund pediatric cancer research

WWE is in Connor "The Crusher" Michalek's hometown today, and Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon was at Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital - where the Connor's Cure fund was established - to announce a nationwide partnership with The V Foundation to support pediatric cancer research.

This is a major move for McMahon's "philanthropy is the future of marketing" strategy, and hopefully one which will help a lot of kids in the future. Here's the company's announcement:

The V Foundation and WWE Launch National Partnership to Fight Pediatric Cancer

CARY, N.C. and STAMFORD, Conn., March 14, 2016 - In an effort to help find cures for pediatric cancer, WWE (NYSE: WWE) and The V Foundation for Cancer Research today announced a multi-year partnership to support cancer research nationally through funds raised by Connor's Cure. The announcement was made at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where Connor's Cure was originally established, with representatives from the hospital, WWE and The V Foundation. In 2014, Connor's Cure was created by WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon and WWE Executive Vice President Talent, Live Events & Creative Paul "Triple H" Levesque as a fund within Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation to support pediatric brain and spinal cord cancer research.

The new partnership will expand Connor's Cure outside of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and support other top research centers and hospitals nationwide. Connor's Cure was established in honor of 8-year-old WWE fan Connor Michalek, a patient at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC who battled medulloblastoma, a rare tumor that affects the brain and spinal cord. To date, Connor's Cure has raised nearly $1 million and assisted more than 100 families around the world.

As a result of the new partnership, funds raised by WWE will support Connor's Cure through The V Foundation's grant-making process. The V Foundation's Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of world-class physicians and research scientists, vets and awards top-rated grant proposals from the nation's leading medical facilities. In addition, funding will continue to support the research being done at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

WWE is committed to raising awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research throughout the year through the sale of Connor's Cure bracelets, fundraising programs and through its global platforms including WWE Network and TV broadcasts, live events, and digital and social media.

"WWE is proud to partner with The V Foundation for Cancer Research and expand Connor's Cure in an effort to raise additional awareness and funds in the fight against pediatric cancer," said WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon. "The extensive reach of The V Foundation combined with the incredible support provided by the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation will help bring more awareness to this devastating disease."

"The V Foundation is proud to partner with WWE in the fight against pediatric cancer," said Susan Braun, CEO of The V Foundation. "Funding research at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and around the country, we are partnering to let the world know that we are helping children by finding cures."

"We are extremely grateful to Stephanie, Paul, and the entire WWE community for the passion and commitment they have shown in creating Connor's Cure and honoring the memory of a little boy who clearly touched them deeply," said Greg Barrett, President, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. "The funds raised through Connor's Cure have already made a significant difference in the lives of children battling cancer. The new partnership with The V Foundation will expand the national reach of Connor's Cure and work towards the ultimate goal - ending pediatric cancer."

Every year, 12,000-15,000 children are newly diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. Through the efforts of The V Foundation, progress is being made with cure rates for most pediatric cancers dramatically improving. The V Foundation has awarded nearly $20 million through 66 pediatric research grants to-date, including more than $5 million to pediatric cancer research in 2015.

We still haven't heard anything about a Warrior Award ("given to someone who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of WWE Hall of Famer, The Ultimate Warrior") recipient for this year.

Last year it was awarded posthumously to Michalek, and with a friend of the family in Pittsburgh (FYI - possible spoiler in that link) as well, the company may look to tie all these news items together on Raw tonight.

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