Ninth Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Chicago Raises $6.1 Million

 

More Than 2,900 Women and Men Participate in the 39.3 Mile Walk; Grants Awarded to Nine Local Breast Cancer Organizations

 

Chicago, IL, June 5, 2011 – The ninth annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season continued with the Avon Walk Chicago this weekend, which raised $6.1 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. The Avon Walk Chicago, the fourth of nine Avon Walks this year, attracted more than 2,900 participants from 41 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada, including 352 men and 256 breast cancer survivors, who joined together to raise life-saving funds and awareness for breast cancer.

 

During the Closing Ceremony at Soldier Field, Claudia Ferrero, a five-year breast cancer survivor from Morris, Ill., spoke movingly about her battle with breast cancer and her experiences from the weekend: “I’ve come to walk my first Avon Walk to celebrate and share my story of survival and to spread the message that early detection saves lives like mine. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2006 and she begged my sisters and me to get mammograms. I was diagnosed three months later. My doctors said that if I had waited even a year, I might not have survived. Today, after a great deal of love, support and excellent medical care, I’m proud to say that my mom and I are both 5 year breast cancer survivors.”

 

Dr. Marc Hurlbert, executive director of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade announced during the Closing Ceremony a total of more than $3.25 million in grants to nine local organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the community. More grants are slated to be awarded throughout the year to breast cancer programs nationwide. “Our beneficiaries 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 Chicago closing ceremony:

 

Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization received $200,000 to support the YourShoes 24/7 Breast Cancer Support Center, which provides the only round-the-clock volunteer-staffed breast cancer call center in the country.  

 

Mercy Hospital received $200,000 to fund its patient navigator staff and a new digital mammography machine for its 56th Street location. 

 

Sinai Health System received $200,000 to support its patient navigator staff at Mount Sinai Hospital. 

 

Stroger Hospital received $250,000 for its Breast Cancer High Risk Screening Program, which will provide more than 400 underserved women with risk assessment services, genetic counseling and testing. 

 

The Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force received $250,000 for its efforts to reduce the disparity in breast cancer mortality between Chicago’s black and white residents. The Task Force was established in 2008 with a $1 million award raised at the Avon Walk. 

 

University of Chicago received $150,000 to support research to determine the role that viruses and inflammation may play in the development of breast cancer. 

 

Indiana University received $300,000 to support research to determine if telomere dysfunction can help determine breast cancer risk and identify women and men who should be screened more frequently. 

 

The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University, the Avon Walk Chicago medical sponsor and home of the Avon Foundation Breast Care Center of Excellence and the Avon Breast Cancer Research Laboratories, received $750,000 to provide access to breast care for low income women at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Erie Family Health Center and support five new research projects to identify and better understand new therapies to fight breast cancer.   

 

Helping Her Live program, a neighborhood-wide effort in North Lawndale and Humboldt Park, received $1.25 million to conduct comprehensive “community navigation” outreach to black, Latina and other low-income women in these neighborhoods. The program will educate more than 25,000 women and men and link thousands of women to screening, diagnostic and treatment services at Mount Sinai Hospital and other Avon Safety Net Hospitals in Chicago.

 

About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Chicago

During the Avon Walk Chicago, 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, June 4, with an early morning Opening Ceremony at Soldier Field. Following the ceremony, walkers began their journey, traveling through Chicago and concluding at the Avon Walk “Wellness Village” at Horner Park. The “Wellness Village” featured two-person pink sleeping tents, hot showers, prepared 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, June 5, walkers completed another 13.1 miles together, ending back at Soldier Field, where thousands of family 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 Chicago, 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 $390 million through the dedication of more than 145,000 participating women and men from across the country, including thousands of Avon Associates and Representatives. The Avon Walk Chicago is the fourth event of the 2011 season, and registration is still open for women and men to take part in the remaining 2011 Avon Walks: Rocky Mountains, CO (June 25 – 26), San Francisco (July 9 – 10), Santa Barbara (September 17-18), New York City (October 15-16), and Charlotte, NC (October 22-23).

 

To register, donate or for additional information, please visit www.avonwalk.org  or call 800-541-WALK.  For information on the Avon Foundation visit www.avonfoundation.org.

 

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The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer thanks National Sponsor: Reebok; Official Sponsors: Genentech BioOncology, Lend Us Your Ear powered by TheVoiceLibrary.net, OtterBox and Orion Trading; Local Premier Sponsor: Cadillac; Local Sponsors: Groupon, The Great American Bagel, Stewarts, Chicago Parking Meters, Superior Ambulance and the Chicago White Sox; and Medical Sponsor: Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

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)!