Orca Bay hoping to bring industry together to fight cancer

Published on
October 25, 2016

Collectively, the seafood industry can be as powerful as the waters it farms and traverses for high-quality proteins, according to Trish Haaker.

Haaker, the co-founder and Senior Vice President for Washington-based Orca Bay Seafoods, knows this fact intimately – a decade ago, the industry raised more than USD 40,000 (EUR 36,770) for cancer research as part of Sea A Cure, a campaign which began in response to Haaker’s breast cancer diagnosis.

“I was lucky,” wrote Haaker in a blog post recalling her diagnosis. “Not only did I have an amazing team of doctors, a loving supportive group of family and friends, plus an incredible ‘extended family’ at Orca Bay who went above and beyond, but I also had a whole seafood industry rally around me.”

Along with supporting Haaker, cancer research and patients in need of financial aid, companies contributing to the Sea A Cure mission 10 years ago were also backing a unique message not often seen at the fore of such campaigns: That eating seafood has clear health and wellness benefits.

Raising consumer awareness remains a focal point now that Orca Bay and Haaker have brought Sea A Cure back, in time for both National Seafood month and National Breast Cancer Awareness month this October. For the latest installment of the campaign, seafood companies are asked to donate funds, which will go to City of Hope, a global leader providing resources to those battling cancer, managing diabetes and other serious chronic illnesses. However, the industry can get involved in other ways as well, explained Lilani Estacio, the marketing and communications manager at Orca Bay Seafoods.

“Funds are definitely recommended, but also spreading the word either in email, person, conversation, and of course, social media platforms, goes a long way,” Estacio said to SeafoodSource. “Companies can be as straight-forward or creative as they want. A few are selling goods and donating a portion of the proceeds. Others are contributing a percentage of sales while some have offered to write personal testimonials of their experience with cancer. That’s the great thing about the campaign – companies or individuals can get as involved as they want, and however they want.” [Click here for an example of a social media contribution to Sea A Cure from the Salmon Sisters.]

Sea A Cure may have launched again specially in October 2016, but the industry is free to contribute to the effort year-round, said Estacio. This is in part due to the scope of the campaign expanding beyond breast cancer research to include other ailments within City of Hope’s purview, including other types of cancers, diabetes and heart disease.

Therefore, “if people feel like they missed the wave this October, they can join at any time,” said Estacio, who also serves as a board member of Pacific Northwest Food Industries Circle for the City of Hope and is a volunteer nutritionist for the program Cooking Matters.

The campaign has come to mean a lot for Washington-based Orca Bay.

“We are a fairly small company and just in the last decade we have had employees, spouses, and even children diagnosed with cancer. Getting the entire seafood industry involved definitely fits in with our overall ethos and mission — we want people eating more seafood, period,” according to Estacio. “If they are choosing seafood over other proteins it is a win for everyone. If it’s Orca Bay’s product that's of course an added bonus for us. The organic fruition of Sea A Cure is also very on par with our strong belief and practice in transparency. Simply put, Sea A Cure is a united effort of our industry to get together for one amazing cause — there’s no catch or ulterior motives."

Find more information and donate to the cause/campaign here: https://ourhope.cityofhope.org/fundraise?fcid=764269

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