Steve Stagner Former CEO of Mattress Firm


Encourages Major Business To Get Involved

Written By Julia Brabant
November 2019

As the former Chief Executive Officer of Mattress Firm, the world’s largest bedding retailer, Steve Stagner is a man with considerable connections, and he’s managed to leverage those powerful connections to help save and extend the lives of countless pancreatic cancer patients.

First introduced to Dr. Daniel Von Hoff by the Seena Magowitz Foundation’s Roger Magowitz, another former bedding industry alum, Steve found himself immediately and profoundly struck by the doctor’s fierce, unconventional approach to fighting the disease.

“Dr. Von Hoff helps you fight the disease while you have it, but he’s also always working to find a cure, easy methods of early detection, and leading-edge treatments that extend lives,” Steve said, noting that similar efforts made in the fight against breast cancer have helped shift the perspective – and the prognosis – of those fighting that disease. “Breast cancer was once viewed in a similar manner to pancreatic cancer, meaning, at one time, it was seen almost like a death sentence. Now, it’s not, and that’s where we need to be with pancreatic cancer.”

As an element of comparison, today, the average five-year survival rate for those diagnosed with women’s breast cancer is about 89%, whereas the average five-year survival rate for those with pancreatic cancer is about 9%. That is a huge difference.

An immensely successful and storied businessman with more than two decades in the bedding industry behind him, Steve acknowledged that his most meaningful contribution to helping fight the deadly disease would likely come from using his platform and leveraging his vast professional network to help call attention to the cause.

“Meeting Dr. Von Hoff was a game-changer for me,” Steve said. “His approach to fighting the disease was so different, and he’d already had so much success in extending lives. We saw that we could use our platform to get TGen, Dr. Von Hoff, the Seena Magowitz Foundation and the fight against pancreatic cancer in front of an even bigger audience.”

Ultimately, Steve did just that, helping Mattress Firm become one of the world’s most prolific and recognizable names in the fight against pancreatic cancer. To date, the company has helped raise millions of dollars in funding for pancreatic cancer research, and it also partially funded clinical trials with the hope of expanding treatment options and extending the lives of those battling the disease. In one particular trial, nearly 73% of pancreatic cancer patients saw their tumors shrink, highlighting both the critical nature of these trials and the far-reaching extent of their effectiveness.

While Steve’s fundraising efforts have touched countless lives, so, too, has his commitment to encouraging other major businesses to follow in the footsteps of Mattress Firm. “This is an incredible opportunity for all of us to be a footnote in the fight against pancreatic cancer,” Steve said. “I fully believe that not only in our lifetime, but in the not-too-distant future, we’ll find an easy method of early detection and a cure for this deadly disease.”

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