Reese Witherspoon Joins Thousands of Participants at the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer New York; Awards $9.1 Million in Grants
3,500 Women and Men Participate in the 39.3 Mile Walk
New York, NY, October 16, 2011 – Avon Foundation for Women Honorary Chairman Reese Witherspoon was a special guest at the ninth annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer New York Closing Ceremony today, where she thanked walkers, crew and supporters for their incredible commitment to the cause. The Avon Walk New York raised more than $8.4 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, which is added to the more than $400 million raised by the Avon Walks since 2003. The Walk attracted 3,500 participants from 42 states, Washington, D.C., and six countries--including Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Denmark and Switzerland--along with 430 men and 444 breast cancer survivors.
Witherspoon greeted walkers on stage at the Closing Ceremony congratulating them for finishing their weekend-long, 39.3-mile journey: “I’m so happy to be back at the Avon Walk and once again I’m absolutely amazed at what you all just did,” said Witherspoon. “Walking all those miles and raising all that money—you’re all incredible!”
During the Closing Ceremony at Hudson River Park’s Pier 84, Liz Dente, a three-year breast cancer survivor and Team Avon walker from New Rochelle, NY, spoke movingly about her breast cancer diagnosis and journey through treatment: “I’m a planner and breast cancer was certainly not in the master plan of my busy life. But then things changed. One day I was worried about corporate systems analysis, the next I was worried about who could best raise my kids with my husband after I’m gone. Our kids were 6 and 9 years old and we were determined that 2008 was not going to be the year that mommy got breast cancer. It was going to be the year of first grade and fourth grade; the year of no training wheels and diving off the diving board. That thinking—our ‘new normal’—saved all of us, because even while I dealt with all the procedures, surgery, chemo and exhaustion, my number one goal in this battle has been to keep my kids’ lives as carefree as possible. Now, as I stand here before you, exhausted but exhilarated from completing my third Avon Walk New York, my husband and kids are here with me. Because of their love and support and the incredible medical care I’ve been lucky enough to receive, I’m able to raise them myself…as a breast cancer survivor.”
To ensure the funds raised immediately benefit the community, Witherspoon presented more than $9.1 million in grants to 10 New York Tri-State area organizations during the Closing Ceremony. More grants are slated to be awarded throughout the year to breast cancer programs nationwide.
Following are the ten grants the Avon Foundation for Women awarded at the Avon Walk New York Closing Ceremony:
-- The Avon Foundation Breast Health Outreach Program received $5,850,000 to continue supporting its more than 120 community-based groups across the country—programs which navigated more than 125,000 people into mammography screening and clinical breast exams in 2011 and reached a half million people with critical education and information.
-- CancerCare received $1 million to continue providing direct financial assistance to low-income breast cancer patients, reaching women and men in 85% of all U.S. counties and all 50 states.
-- The Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Center at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center received $750,000 to continue funding care for thousands of underserved women in its state-of-the art mammography center and support breast cancer research, clinical trials and imaging fellowships. This new grant brings total Avon Foundation support for the Columbia-Presbyterian Avon Breast Center to more than 22 million dollars over the last 11 years.
-- New York University Cancer Institute received two grants totaling $680,000 which will be used to support the NYU Cancer Center and Bellevue Collaborative, an extensive patient navigation program at Bellevue Hospital, and the Avon Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Consortium, a program at NYU School of Medicine working to find out what causes Inflammatory Breast Cancer and why it progresses.
-- God’s Love We Deliver, which provided meals to Avon Walkers on Sunday, received $175,000 to provide nutrition education and meals to patients and their families.
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:
-- Metropolitan Hospital Center received a grant of $250,000;
-- Newark Beth Israel Hospital received a grant of $200,000;
-- Albert Einstein College of Medicine received a grant of $125,000;
-- Northern Westchester Hospital received a grant of $75,000;
-- Long Island Medical Foundation received a grant of $75,000.
These checks represent only a portion of the grants that will be made with Walk donations. The Avon Foundation already presented an additional $430,000 in grants to Niagara University, St. John’s Riverside in Westchester, the Cancer and Careers Program, the Big Bam Foundation, You Can Thrive!, and Mount Sinai Hospital.
About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer New York
During the Avon Walk New York, 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 15, with an early morning Opening Ceremony at Hudson River Park’s Pier 84 in Manhattan. Following the ceremony, walkers began their journey, traveling through the streets and outer boroughs of New York City and concluding at the Avon Walk “Wellness Village” at Randall’s Island. 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 16, walkers completed the walk, ending back at Pier 84, where Reese Witherspoon and 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 New York, 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 163,000 participating women and men from across the country, including thousands of Avon employees and Sales Representatives. The Avon Walk New York is the eighth event of the 2011 season, with the last event taking place next weekend in Charlotte, NC (October 22-23). To register for the 2012 Avon Walk season, 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.
The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer thanks National Sponsor: Reebok; Official Sponsors: Genentech BioOncology, OtterBox and Orion Trading; Local Sponsors: Hudson River Park Trust, Groupon, Au Bon Pain, Seamless; and Medical Sponsor: New York-Presbyterian 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)!