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Ad Council Breaks Public Service Effort for Childhood Cancer

The Advertising Council Inc. and the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation began a national multimedia public service ad campaign to help children with cancer and their families get information and support to handle the disease.

Created pro bono by New York ad agency Y&R, the television, radio and print ads direct parents, families, friends and caregivers to the site at curesearch.org. Produced by interactive design firm Siegel & Gale, the site is a regularly updated portal on childhood cancer.

“When families are told their child has cancer, they often turn to the Internet for information about the disease and its treatment protocols,” Paul T. Burke, president/CEO of the foundation, said in a statement.

Cancer is the leading disease killer of children nationwide. Forty-six children daily are diagnosed with cancer. Though progress has been made in research and treatment — the cure rate is 78 percent — thousands of children die each year from the disease.

The new ads commissioned by the Ad Council juxtapose the before and after stages of a child diagnosed with cancer. A child in one TV spot asks, “Why do they call it a funny bone? Why can't penguins fly? Can we go to the moon on vacation?”

Actress Jodie Foster responds in a voiceover, “If you think it's tough answering these questions, imagine the ones you'll get if your child is diagnosed with cancer. CureSearch.org can help. You're not as alone as you feel.”

Deirdre Downs, Miss America 2005, is the official national spokeswoman for the foundation. The aspiring pediatrician will support the campaign during her reign.

The broadcast and print ads were distributed to 28,000 media outlets in October. They will begin airing and running in publications this month. Media time and space are donated.

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