By  on June 11, 2010

NEW YORK — Uma Thurman and Donna Karan are teaming to combat women’s cancer.

Saks Fifth Avenue and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation tapped the actress as this year’s ambassador to the retailer’s annual Key to the Cure initiative. Karan designed the limited edition T-shirt that will be sold as part of the campaign and benefits a slew of organizations devoted to the fight against cancer.

It’s a cause that Thurman and Karan take very seriously. Both have known women affected by the disease, and Thurman was particularly inspired to step up her efforts in the fight against it when she attended the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Central Park in September and shot the starting gun.

“It was amazing to see so many women, both survivors and nonsurvivors alike, united in this effort,” said Thurman. “When [Key to the Cure] was presented to me, I thought, ‘This is something I want to make the time to do, something that matters a lot to me.’”

Thurman joins past celebrity ambassadors including Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, Hilary Swank, Heidi Klum, Glenn Close, Renée Zellweger and Nicole Kidman. Like them, Thurman is to appear in a national public service announcement sporting the Karan-designed T-shirt, which will be placed in September and October issues of fashion and lifestyle publications.

“For me, it’s not just about dressing women; it’s about addressing the issues that are so important to all of us,” Karan said. “I lost my mentor, Anne Klein, and my best friend, Lynn Kohlman, to breast cancer. We’ve made great strides, but we still don’t have a cure.

“Who better than Uma Thurman to represent this campaign?” she added. “She’s a mother and an artist and is passionate about making a difference.”

The $35 T-shirt, of which 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the cause, will be available at Saks Fifth Avenue and Off 5th stores, as well as on saks.com, from Oct. 1. Saks’ annual charity shopping weekend, meanwhile, is scheduled to take place Oct. 21 to 24. Two percent of that weekend’s sales will be donated to local and national women’s cancer organizations and research centers.

Since 1999, Saks has given more than $33 million to women’s cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S. The money benefits The Breast Cancer Research Foundation as well as local charitable programs that focus on developing new treatments and, ultimately, a cure for women’s cancers.

“Partnering with Donna Karan, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Uma Thurman — as well as obtaining the continued support of charities throughout the country, our clients, vendors and associates — is a testament to Key to the Cure’s amazing success in uniting our communities to raise critical funds and awareness about this cause year after year,” said Saks Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Stephen I. Sadove.

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