Tenth Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Boston Raises $4.8 Million

More Than 2100 Women and Men Joined Together to Participate in 39.3-mile Walk; 10 Local Breast Cancer Organizations Receive Grants


Boston, MA, May 20, 2012 – The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer tenth birthday season continued with the annual Avon Walk in Boston this weekend, which raised $4.8 million to advance access to care and to finding a cure for breast cancer. The Avon Walk Boston attracted more than 2100 participants from 37 states plus Washington D.C. ranging from 16 - 75 years of age, including 242 breast cancer survivors, who joined together to raise life-saving funds and awareness for breast cancer.


During the closing ceremony at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Kim Kashian, 46, of Wayland , Mass., emotionally detailed her battle with the disease and her journey which began in 2007 with a diagnosis of advanced breast cancer.


“I had no family history and I was one of the healthiest people I knew. I also had two little boys at home and a thriving career. Then a routine mammogram led to the shocking discovery that I had breast cancer,” said Kashian. “At first, I went into what I termed ‘my armadillo phase,’ where I closed myself into my shell so that I could figure it all out…then my oncologist told me that my type of cancer, which was aggressive and advanced, would likely end my life within two years. That ended my armadillo phase and I came out of my shell determined not to be a victim and to fight to stay alive. That’s why I’m here with all of you today – a breast cancer survivor –at the Avon Walk Boston to raise money for those who desperately need our help.”


Carol Kurzig, President of the Avon Foundation for Women, announced during the closing ceremony a total of nearly $4.8 million in grants to local organizations, ensuring that the funds raised immediately benefit the community. “Our beneficiaries here in New England are leaders from your communities who are dedicated to the fight against breast cancer,” said Kurzig. “These organizations are providing breast cancer screening, care and support services every day. They are also researching the causes and improved treatments for breast cancer, but also a way to someday prevent it altogether. ”


The following are the New England area grants announced at the Closing Ceremony:

  • Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center of Boston, home of the Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Care and Research Center, an Avon Foundation Breast Care Center of Excellence, received a grant of $750,000. The grant will support research to understand HER2 Therapy Resistance, as well as programs that help low income women receive care at the Avon Center at Mass General and in community clinics in Chelsea, Geiger Gibson, Mattapan, Neponset and Cape Cod.
  • Community Servings received a grant of $90,000 to support its Avon Door-to-Door Delivery Program, which brings thousands of meals to breast cancer patients and their families.
  • Tufts College received a grant of $150,000 to examine the “stroma” cells and milk duct cells to understand their role in breast cancer risk.
  • Tufts Medical Center received a grant of $200,000 to support its Patient Navigation Research Program, a multisite study evaluating best practices for the implementation of patient navigation in breast cancer care.
  • Silent Spring Institute received a grant of $200,000 to research the potential role of the environment in breast cancer development.
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst received a grant of $300,000 to study genetics and breast cancer risk in African-American women.


The Avon Foundation also awarded four grants during the Closing Ceremony to further strengthen the Avon Safety Net program, which consists of more than 70 hospitals across the country that ensure women and men who might otherwise fall through the cracks of the healthcare system have access to high quality breast cancer services. The Safety Net grants include:

  • Cambridge Health Alliance of Boston, Massachusetts a grant of $243,000;
  • Central Maine Medical Center of Lewiston, Maine received a grant of $250,000;
  • Baystate Medical Center of Springfield, Massachusetts received a grant of $250,000;
  • Boston Medical Center received a grant of $500,000.


About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Boston
During the Avon Walk Boston, participants had the choice of walking a marathon (26.2 miles) or a marathon and half (39.3 miles) over the weekend, which kicked off on Saturday, May 19, with an early morning opening ceremony at the University of Massachusetts Boston Circle Lawn. Immediately following the ceremony, walkers began their journey trekking through the greater Boston area and finished their day with fellow walkers at “Wellness Village” at the Reebok World Headquarters in Canton. The “Wellness Village” featured pink two-person sleeping tents, hot showers, prepared meals, entertainment, volunteer medical services and comprehensive support services. Additionally, leisure activities such as yoga and a spa zone with mini-back-and-foot-massages were available to participants. On Sunday, May 20, walkers completed another 13.1 miles together, ending back at the University of Massachusetts Boston Circle Lawn where they were greeted by thousands of family and friends, and celebrated the completion of their journey at a moving closing ceremony that included the awarding of new grants.


To participate in the Avon Walk Boston, 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 $430 million through the dedication of more than 160,000 participating women and men from across the country, including thousands of Avon Associates and Representatives. The Avon Walk Boston is the third event of the 2012 10th birthday season, and registration is still open for women and men to take part in the remaining 2012 Avon Walks: Chicago (June 2-3), Rocky Mountains, CO (June 23-24), San Francisco (July 7-8), Santa Barbara (September 22-23), New York City (October 20-21), and Charlotte, NC (October 27-28).


For more information on the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer 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.

###

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer thanks National Sponsor: Reebok and OtterBox, Local Sponsors: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, Marathon Sports, Fallon Ambulance Service, U-Haul and Massport, and Medical Sponsor: Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Emergency Medicine


 


Remember: early detection can help save lives. Discuss breast cancer screening with your doctor. Make informed decisions about what age to start mammography. Get to know your risk and risk reduction strategies. For more breast cancer information and resources, visit www.cancer.org (keyword breast cancer) or www.avonfoundation.org, where you can access free printable breast cancer informational literature.


Follow the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
on Facebook (www.facebook.com/avonwalks) and Twitter (twitter.com/avonwalks).