The "Pink Mercy" charity skin in Overwatch has funded three critical programs via the Breast Cancer Research Foundation according to a tweet from the game's official Twitter.
Pink Mercy was a first for Overwatch - a skin that could be bought for a one-time purchase of $15 for a limited time with the profits exclusively going to the benefit of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, an organization dedicated to doing away with this most terrible of diseases. Featuring a 3-star rating on Charity Navigator and an A+ rating on Charity Watch, the BCRF focuses on actually getting something done rather than just spreading awareness or paying hefty administrative costs. Sales of the skins ultimately raised $12.7 million, and today Blizzard announced just how those funds have been spent.
The Precision Prevention Initiative is a series of programs aimed at stopping breast cancer before it becomes a problem in the first place. A think tank of researchers specializing in breast cancer will convene to design a Request for Proposals, a framework to solicit grant applications from researches who can meet strict criteria. The process is set to end in March 2019 and awards for research funding will be distributed over the following three years.
The Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium Award is a mechanism that will contribute to launching five new clinical trials this year. As anyone who has dealt with a tough disease knows, clinical trials have the potential for promising results. Unfortunately, they're also pretty expensive to conduct and that's where this award will come in. A consortium of 19 medical institutions and almost 200 investigators will be conducting these trials using a multidisciplinary approach towards testing new therapeutic strategies.
Finally, the heart and soul of the BCRF is their annual research grants. In addition to the two previously-mentioned programs, a total of 25 grants have been funded by Overwatch fans. These Blizzard Entertainment Awards will be distributed to 29 researchers across 10 U.S. states and 8 countries on six different continents.
You can read about the details in full (and see some neat charts) over at the game's official website. There's no telling if the Pink Mercy skin will return or what other charity initiatives Blizzard Entertainment might undertake for Overwatch or their other games, but it's nice to see that it was wildly successful. In the meantime, pop on over to the BCRF's website and consider giving them a tax-deductible donation to support actual research getting done. One day, it'll save someone's life.
What did you think of the Pink Mercy skin? Did you buy it when it was available? What other charitable causes do you think Blizzard Entertainment should support via this method? Let us know in the comments below!