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04/ 3/15 11:12 AM EDT

Hooters Raises More Than $660,000 in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Hooters presented check to The V Foundation for Cancer Research amid college hoops championship events in Indianapolis

Hooters Raises More Than $660,000 in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

ATLANTA – Hooters today announced it raised a record high $661,824 in support of the fight against breast cancer by asking America to #SupportOurHooters throughout National Breast Cancer Awareness Month last October. Leading up to the men’s college basketball championship weekend festivities in Indianapolis, Indiana, Hooters presented a check to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, one of the nation’s leading cancer research funding organizations, during the Slam Dunk Cancer charity event last night at The Crane Bay.

During the Slam Dunk Cancer ceremony The V Foundation CEO Susan Braun, board member Lesley Visser and longtime supporter Dick Vitale accepted a check from Hooters COO Jim Parrish, 2015 Hooters Girl of the Year Jenell Hendrix and 2014 Hooters Girl of the Year Tyler Suess.

“We asked America to support our Hooters locations across the nation, and America responded in a huge way. I am consistently inspired by the power of the Hooters family when united in pursuit of a common cause,” said Terry Marks, CEO, Hooters of America. “There is no greater salesperson on earth than a motivated Hooters Girl. Their passion for this cause, combined with the generosity of our guests, resulted in a remarkable outcome. Hooters has a long history of participating in this fight and the fact that these efforts resulted in an all-time high is really exciting and humbling all at once.”

Hooters worked with The V Foundation to identify five regional cancer centers in key communities that contributed to the Support Our Hooters fundraising effort. Each center will receive a $65,000 grant to support vital breast cancer clinical trial outreach, including the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center in Dallas, Texas, the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles and the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The V Foundation will allocate the remaining funds this fall to breast cancer-specific grants in memory of the late Kelly Jo Dowd, one of the original Hooters Girls who lost her battle with breast cancer on May 24, 2007.

For the 2014 Support Our Hooters fundraising effort, the top individual Hooters fundraising restaurant was the Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, which totaled $12,886, followed by Hooters of Pensacola Beach, Florida, which raised $8,919.26, and the West End Hooters in Dallas, Texas, raising $8,542.05. Restaurants of America, with Hooters locations in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota and New Mexico, raised $56,000 to claim the title of top-performing franchise ownership group. The Texas Division of Hooters of America was the top performing company-owned restaurant division, collecting $127,000.

The October drive period was a true team effort and included 2014 Miss Hooters International and 2015 Hooters Calendar Cover Girl Janet Layug, who led a group of Hooters Calendar Girls around the country signing autographs, making national and local media appearances and engaging with local communities to help spread awareness. Current Merritt Island, Florida, Hooters Girl and breast cancer survivor, Jan-Marie Merrill, inspired Hooters Girls everywhere throughout the fundraising drive, through her strength and personal advocacy.

**Photo caption: (L-R) The V Foundation CEO Susan Braun, Hooters of America COO Jim Parrish, 2015 Hooters Girl of the Year Jenell Hendrix, 2014 Hooters Girl of the Year Tyler Suess, Dick Vitale and Lesley Visser

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