New York, NY--- The second annual Avon Walk Around the World for Breast Cancer, a series of unique and varied events worldwide, will mobilize hundreds of thousands of people in 39 countries in a shared commitment to end breast cancer. The highlight of the movement will take place on October 5th when breast cancer survivors from across the globe converge on New York City to celebrate Global Breast Cancer Survivors Day along with research scientists, global cancer league managers and special guests, including keynote speaker Jorge Gomez of the National Cancer Institute, who will present new finding on global disparities in breast cancer.. (For a list of participating countries, please see page 2.)
Walk Around the World for Breast Cancer (WAWBC) events are taking place on various dates according to the customs and calendars of each country, with most focused on Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October). Just a few of the unique and engaging events include a celebrity concert in Slovakia, a breast cancer survivor motorcycle tour in South Africa, the series of 39-mile Avon Walks in the US and a race in Guatemala. Events vary according to the cultural preferences of each country, encompassing conferences, workshops, walks, runs, concerts, and more, and funds raised will support local breast cancer programs. Every WAWBC event, whatever the logistics, works towards the mission of access to care for all women and the eventual eradication of breast cancer.
"Breast Cancer does not discriminate between nations or ethnicities, but both the understanding and support of the issue of breast cancer varies greatly country to country," states to Carol Kurzig, Avon Foundation Executive Director. "By mobilizing people worldwide we are helping break barriers to awareness and access to care as we work to eradicate the disease."
The inaugural 2005 WAWBC series launched in 35 countries and attracted over 87,000 participants, creating the first awareness events of their kind in many regions. The need for continued awareness and funding for the breast cancer cause is great. Progress has been made, but in the US breast cancer still takes a life every 14 minutes and there is a new diagnosis every three minutes. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is responsible for 502,000 deaths per year world wide.
Global Connection Ribbon Tour: Linking Survivor to Survivor
WAWBC participating countries are linked by a Global Connection Ribbon Tour, which serves as a unique grassroots, woman-to-woman connection. In the Global Connection Ribbon Tour, a selected breast cancer survivor from each event travels to another country to attend the next WAWBC event as an honored guest. This visiting breast cancer survivor passes to a local breast cancer survivor a unique "Connection Ribbon" as a symbol of shared hope and survivorship - an oversized pink ribbon imprinted with "Thank You" in multiple languages. In October, nearly 40 of these women will be brought to New York City for two extraordinary events: the October 5 Avon Foundation Global Breast Cancer Survivors Day press luncheon and the October 7-8 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer New York, where the international survivors will be stationed at cheering stations along the 39-mile route and be recognized at the moving closing ceremony. Returning for the second year as presenting sponsor of the Global Connection Ribbon Tour is Novartis Oncology.
"Novartis is delighted to return as a partner with Avon in its crusade against breast cancer," said Dr. Diane Young, Head of Global Clinical Development, Novartis Oncology, "The 2006 Walk Around the World for Breast Cancer was a great addition to our commitment to enhancing the lives of women with breast cancer through public education, and we look forward to once again supporting this unique event series that helps raise global awareness."
Unique Mentorship Program Advances Breast Cancer Cause
The 2006 WAWBC series features a new inter-country mentorship program developed to enhance the impact and effectiveness of breast cancer programs around the world. Through the mentorship, a well-established Avon breast cancer program in one country will partner with a fledgling program in another country. This country-to-country relationship will facilitate the sharing of best practices and new ideas to strengthen breast cancer programs in both countries and advance the cause of breast cancer in the local community and across the globe. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has supported breast cancer programs worldwide since 1992, and this mentorship program will bring together the knowledge of experienced program leaders with the fresh ideas of those launching new initiatives.
Participating Walk Around the World for Breast Cancer Countries
About the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade
The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has supported programs over 50 countries since it was created in 1992 in the UK, and through 2006 over US$450 million has been raised and awarded worldwide to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved. Funding supports five areas: awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and scientific research. Beneficiaries range from leading cancer centers to community-based non-profit breast health programs, which together form a powerful international network of research, medical, social service and community organizations. In the US alone, a few highlights of the funding impact include: more than 1,000 grants to community-based education and screening programs; over 40 "safety net" hospitals treating the medically underserved; new research laboratories and care centers in eight cancer centers; over 400 scientific research grants; and more than 45 clinical trials.
For more information: www.avonfoundation.org