Tenth Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Chicago Raises $6.3 Million

More Than 2,800 Women and Men Participate in the 39.3 Mile Walk; Grants Awarded to 10 Local Breast Cancer Organizations

Chicago, IL, June 3, 2012 – The tenth annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season continued with the Avon Walk Chicago this weekend, which raised $6.3 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 2,800 participants from 39 states and Washington, D.C., as well as Canada, and included 356 men and 340 breast cancer survivors who all joined together to raise life-saving funds and awareness for breast cancer.

During the Closing Ceremony at Soldier Field, Jill Franks, a 36-year breast cancer survivor from Portage, Indiana, described her difficult battle with breast cancer and what motivated her to walk.

“When I was diagnosed in 1975, nobody was ‘aware’ of breast cancer. Nobody wore pink ribbons. Nobody thought you could survive a diagnosis. People, including members of my family, couldn’t even say the word ‘cancer’ out loud,” said Franks. “I lost my breast, the underlying muscle and the lymph nodes in my arm – things that my body still does not have to this day. But I got my life. I can proudly tell all of you that I walked 39.3 miles this weekend to fight breast cancer and help save lives.”

Carol Kurzig, president of the Avon Foundation for Women, announced during the Closing Ceremony a total of more than $3.79 million in grants to 10 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 here in Chicagoland 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.”

Following are the grants the Avon Foundation for Women awarded at the Avon Walk Chicago Closing Ceremony:

  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University, 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. The grant also will fund three new research projects to identify and better understand the development of breast cancer and how to stop the disease.
  • Sinai Health System received $900,000 to support a comprehensive patient navigation program and to fund new digital mammography and ultrasound equipment for a new women’s health center that will improve care for underserved and low-income women in Chicago. Earlier this year, Sinai Urban Health Institute and the Avon Foundation released a study on racial disparities in breast cancer mortality that found that five black women die needlessly every day from breast cancer.
  • Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force received $250,000 to continue its efforts to reduce Chicago’s black: white disparity in breast cancer mortality. The Task Force was established in 2008 with a $1 million award from Avon Walk donations.
  • University of Chicago received $500,000 to support research determining the role viruses and inflammation may play in the development of breast cancer.
  • Mercy Hospital received $350,000 to support patient navigation and the purchase of a new digital mammography machine.
  • Rush Copley Foundation in Aurora, Ill., received $93,000 to support the purchase of new digital equipment that will enable Rush-Copley Medical Center to produce high-resolution digital images of breast biopsies and lumpectomies.
  • Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization received $200,000 to support the Y-Me Hotline, a peer counseling service that provides support in 150 languages to anyone in need of breast cancer information.
  • Loretto Hospital received $250,000 to develop a patient navigation and follow-up care program.
  • Saint Anthony Hospital received $250,000 to support the purchase of digital mammography equipment.
  • Swedish Covenant Hospital received $250,000 to support the expansion of a patient navigation program and a new mammography information system.

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 2, 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, 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 3, 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 $435 million through the dedication of more than 165,000 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 2012 10th birthday season, and registration is still open for women and men to take part in the remaining 2012 Avon Walks: 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 Sponsors: Reebok and OtterBox, Local Premiere Sponsors: Cadillac, Illinois Lottery, Tiger Balm, Local Sponsors: Stewarts Coffee, The Great American Bagel, Superior Ambulance Service, Chicago White Sox, U-Haul 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 www.cancer.org or www.avonfoundation.org.
 And don't forget, men can get breast cancer too.

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