8th Annual Charlotte Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Raises More Than $1.75 Million

More than 900 women and men participate in the 39.3-mile Avon Walk; Grants Awarded to Five North and South Carolina Breast Cancer Organizations

Charlotte, NC, Oct. 28, 2012 – The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer’s tenth birthday season concluded with the Avon Walk Charlotte this weekend, which raised more than $1.75 million to advance access to care and research to prevent and ultimately find a cure for breast cancer. The Avon Walk Charlotte, the last of nine Avon Walks this year, attracted more than 900 participants from 36 states and Washington DC, and drew 119 men and 117 breast cancer survivors to raise life-saving funds and awareness for breast cancer.

During the Closing Ceremony at Frazier Park, Matthew Brooks, 44, a three-year breast cancer survivor from Apex, NC, described his battle with breast cancer. He was motivated to participate in the Avon Walk when he realized how many people were unaware that men could also be diagnosed with breast cancer.

“There’s no denying that being a man with breast cancer made me a blue fish in a pink pond. In fact, a lot of the people who treated me said I was the first man they’d ever known with the disease. But I’ve embraced my pink side. I was an Avon Walker two years ago and had to come back -- I can’t live without this event. I have to speak out and tell people that men do get breast cancer. That you need to listen to your body and to your doctors in order to find the disease early and tackle it head on,” said Brooks.

Avon Breast Cancer Crusade Executive Director Dr. Marc Hurlbert announced during the closing ceremony a total of $770,000 in grants to five breast cancer organizations in North and South Carolina, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the community. “Our beneficiaries are leaders from your communities in the fight against breast cancer. They represent organizations that offer life-saving services to patients regardless of their ability to pay and they’re doing cutting-edge research to find better treatments, prevention strategies, and ultimately a cure. These new grants will literally help them save lives,” said Hurlbert.

Following are the grants the Avon Foundation for Women awarded at the Avon Walk Charlotte Closing Ceremony:

  • The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Durham, NC, received $270,000 to support a research project looking at the relationship between reproductive hormones, oxidative stress and breast cancer risk.
  • The Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, received $200,000 to support a patient navigation program that improves access to screening, diagnostics and treatment for underserved populations in South Carolina.
  • Spartanburg Regional Healthcare Foundation, in Spartanburg, SC, a first time Avon Walk beneficiary, received $100,000 to support a Community and Breast Imaging Navigator Program at Bearden-Josey Center for Breast Health. The funds will help increase the reach to underserved women in Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties in South Carolina (counties that have the highest late-stage breast cancer diagnosis rates in the state).
  • Randolph Hospital in Asheboro, NC, received $100,000 to continue support of a patient navigation program that will better reach the medically underserved in rural Randolph County.
  • North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC, received $100,000 to support its community outreach and patient navigation services program called the Survivors in Service Navigation Network. These navigations work to reduce disparities in breast care and add high-risk screening, genetic testing and counseling for the women they serve.

In addition to these new grants, previously awarded Avon Foundation grants continue in Charlotte and Mecklenberg County at the Carolinas Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital helping to provide 80,000 screening mammograms each year and assisting thousands of breast cancer patients navigate the confusing maze of a breast cancer diagnosis.

About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Charlotte
During the Avon Walk Charlotte, which is a noncompetitive event, women and men had a choice of walking a marathon (26.2 miles) or a marathon and a half (39.3 miles) over the weekend. The event kicked off Saturday, October 27, with an early morning Opening Ceremony at Frazier Park in Charlotte. Following the ceremony, walkers began their journey, traveling through scenic city and concluding at the Avon Walk “Wellness Village” at Park Road Park. The “Wellness Village” featured two-person pink sleeping tents, hot showers, full hot meals, entertainment, volunteer medical services and comprehensive support services, along with leisure activities such as relaxing yoga to stretch out the muscles and a spa zone with mini-back-and-foot-massages. On Sunday, October 28, walkers completed the walk, ending back at Frazier Park, where thousands of family members and friends greeted them and shared in a celebratory and moving Closing Ceremony, including the awarding of new grants.

To participate in the Avon Walk Charlotte, each walker raised a minimum of $1,800 in donations. The Avon Foundation for Women [a 501(c)(3) public charity] manages the funds raised, which it awards to local, regional and national breast cancer organizations to support five areas of the breast cancer cause, including awareness and education, screening and diagnosis, access to treatment, support services, and scientific research.

Since its launch in 2003, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series has raised more than $470 million through the dedication of nearly 180,000 participating women and men from across the country, including thousands of Avon Associates and Representatives. The Avon Walk Charlotte is the ninth and last event of the 2012 Avon Walk 10th birthday season and will be returning to Charlotte next year on October 26-27, 20013. Registration is now open for the 2013 season. For more information on the Avon Walk or to donate, visit www.avonwalk.org or call 888-541-WALK. To learn more about the Avon Foundation for Women visit www.avonfoundation.org.

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The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer thanks National Sponsors: Reebok, OtterBox and ORION Trading, Local Sponsors: Kaplan Higher Education, Metso, Carolinas Chefs, and Kiwaii Water and Medical Sponsor: Levine Cancer Institute.

REMEMBER, EARLY DETECTION HELPS SAVE LIVES. Get a mammogram. Know your breasts and report any changes to your doctor. Talk to your doctor about your risk. And encourage women around you to do the same. Don't forget, men can get breast cancer, too. For breast cancer information and resources, visit avonfoundation.org.

Follow the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer on Facebook (www.facebook.com/avonwalks), Twitter (www.twitter.com/avonwalks) and Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/avonwalks/)!