Celebrating the beginning of its third year, Newk’s Cares—the ovarian cancer awareness movement spearheaded by fast-casual Newk’s Eatery—has reached a landmark fundraising milestone, having raised more than half a million dollars for the cause to date.

“At the start of Newk’s Cares, none of us could have predicted we would be passing the $500,000 mark two years in and have had the opportunity to engage hundreds of women and their loved ones in a conversation that has life-saving potential,” says Chris Newcomb, Newk’s Eatery’s CEO and co-founder.

Created in 2014, Newk’s Cares has since grown from a kitchen table idea to a national campaign in partnership with the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA)—the largest global organization dedicated to advancing ovarian cancer research while supporting women and their families. Committed to calling attention to what has been dubbed this generation’s “silent killer” and raising financial support for ovarian cancer cure and treatment research, Newk’s Cares started with the cancer diagnosis of its co-founder.

“When I was diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer in 2013, I knew very little about this disease—as do so many women worldwide,” says Lori Newcomb, Newk’s Cares co-founder and wife of Chris Newcomb. “Right now, there’s no screening test available to detect ovarian cancer early on, and that’s why it’s so important for women to be aware of the warning signs.”

As the fifth-leading cause of cancer death among women, only 46 percent of women survive the grim diagnosis beyond five years—compared to an 89 percent survival rate for breast cancer diagnoses. However, with early detection and treatment, this survival rate increases to more than 92 percent. Despite the 200,000 women currently living with ovarian cancer in the U.S., it receives among the least financial support of any form of gynecological or breast cancers.

But Newk’s Cares is looking to change that. Earlier this year, Newk’s Eatery rallied its restaurants system-wide to raise more than $110,000 for the cause in honor of the brand’s 100th restaurant opening. Additionally, at its third annual Ovarian Cycle Jackson spin celebration on September 29, Newk’s Cares united riders to pedal toward a cure, donating $159,395 to OCRFA. These efforts work in concert with Newk’s Cares’ year-round, in-restaurant campaign, which donates 10 cents from every water bottle sold to ovarian cancer research.

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