Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Santa Barbara Raises $4.6 Million
2,000 Women and Men Participate in the 39.3 Mile Walk; Grants Awarded to 10 Southern California Area Breast Cancer Organizations
Santa Barbara, CA, September 18, 2011 – The ninth annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season continued with the Avon Walk Santa Barbara this weekend, which raised $4.6 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. The Avon Walk Santa Barbara, the seventh of nine Avon Walks this year, attracted 2,000 participants from 42 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada, including 241 men and 265 breast cancer survivors, who all joined together to raise life-saving funds and awareness for breast cancer.
During the Closing Ceremony at Carpinteria State Beach, Jessica Berman, a five month breast cancer survivor from Los Angeles, CA, spoke movingly about her breast cancer diagnosis and journey through treatment: “I got the stunning diagnosis of stage three breast cancer when I was six months pregnant. Thankfully, I was able to carry my baby to 36 weeks and our little miracle is here with me today. The best advice I received after my diagnosis was that battling breast cancer is like a marathon. Just when you think you’re getting to the end, you’ve got more to go. And when you think your body and spirit will give up, they find a way to keep going. Most of all, you need just as much support at mile one as you do at mile 26. As I prepare to finish my treatments, the Avon Walk is my mile 26. Preparing for this weekend kept me going when times were hard, because I knew that thousands of people would be here for me – and for people just like me. When I crossed that finish line today I knew I could start the next phase of my life because cancer is finally behind me…and lots of life, love and adventure are ahead.”
To ensure the funds raised immediately benefit the community, Carol Kurzig, president of the Avon Foundation for Women, announced more than $2.5 million in grants to ten Southern California area organizations during the Closing Ceremony. More grants are slated to be awarded throughout the year to breast cancer programs nationwide. “Our beneficiaries are leaders from your communities in the fight against breast cancer,” said Kurzig. “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.”
Following are the ten grants the Avon Foundation for Women awarded at the Avon Walk Santa Barbara Closing Ceremony:
• The Avon Breast Cancer Center at the UCLA-Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and Olive View Medical Center received $750,000 to continue Avon Foundation support for the Avon Cares for Life Program, which includes on-site patient navigation, survivorship programs and a high risk clinic, as well as support for their clinical trials program.
• The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation received $500,000 to support the Love/Avon Army of Women. The Army of Women is changing the way that breast cancer research is done – significantly reducing the time it takes to recruit research study volunteers and encouraging researchers to study the changes happening in healthy women before breast cancer develops to learn how to prevent it.
• The UCLA Foundation received $180,000 to support Avon Foundation Breast Imaging Fellowships at the Iris Cantor Breast Imaging Center and the UCLA Santa Monica Women’s Imaging Center.
• Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope received $150,000 to support their Health of Women research study, which is using information collected online to research breast cancer incidence, cause and survival.
• Project Angel Food received $125,000 to support meal delivery and nutritional counseling services for people fighting breast cancer and their families throughout Los Angeles County.
Five of the grants awarded at Closing Ceremony will strengthen the Avon Safety Net Hospital program, a network of more than 100 hospitals and community clinics across the country supported by the Avon Foundation to ensure that women and men without insurance or resources have access to high quality breast health services. The Safety Net grants include:
• The Council of Community Clinics in San Diego received a grant of $250,000.
• Northridge Hospital Foundation received a grant of $250,000;
• Cancer Center of Santa Barbara received a grant of $150,000;
• University of Southern California received a grant of $125,000;
• Antelope Valley Community Clinic in Lancaster, CA received a grant of $100,000.
About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Santa Barbara
During the Avon Walk Santa Barbara, 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, September 17, with an early morning Opening Ceremony at Chase Palm Park Soccer Field in Santa Barbara. Following the ceremony, walkers began their journey, traveling through scenic Santa Barbara and concluding at the Avon Walk “Wellness Village” at Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club. 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, September 18, walkers completed the walk, ending at Carpinteria State Beach, 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 Santa Barbara, 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 $400 million through the dedication of more than 150,000 participating women and men from across the country, including thousands of Avon Associates and Representatives. The Avon Walk Santa Barbara is the seventh event of the 2011 season, and registration is still open for women and men to take part in the remaining 2011 Avon Walks: New York City (October 15-16), and Charlotte, NC (October 22-23).
The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer thanks National Sponsor: Reebok; Official Sponsors: Genentech BioOncology, OtterBox and Orion Trading; Local Sponsors: S&W Coffee, Groupon, Sports Authority; and Medical Sponsor: John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s Health Center
Remember, early detection helps save lives. Talk to your doctor about your risk, risk-reduction strategies and about what age to start mammography. For more breast cancer information and resources, visit cancer.org or avonfoundation.org. And don't forget, men can get breast cancer too.
Follow the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer on Facebook (facebook.com/avonwalks) and Twitter (twitter.com/avonwalks)!