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

May 09, 2019

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 Plan. 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 diagnosis.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190509005196/en/

“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 Plan 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 reads:

“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 large.

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, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube 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

Source: Merck