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

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

KENILWORTH, N.J. January 31, 2018 –(BUSINESS WIRE)–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 Your Cancer Game Plan Challenge, 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 Plan 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 (SPOHNC).

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 morevisit

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, visit and connect with us on TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTube 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 (

SOURCE: Merck & Co.