2,400 Women and Men Join Together to Participate in the 39.3-mile Walk; Eight Local Breast Cancer Organizations Receive Grants

Chicago, June 2, 2013 – The 11th annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season continued with the Avon Walk in Chicago this weekend, raising more than $5.2 million to advance access to care and funding breast cancer prevention and treatment research. The Avon Walk Chicago attracted 2,400 participants from 40 states and Washington D.C., as well as Canada and Bermuda. Additionally, 292 breast cancer survivors and 379 men joined together to raise life-saving funds and awareness for breast cancer.

During the Closing Ceremony at Soldier Field Stadium Green, Kymberly Reynolds of Chicago, an 11-month breast cancer survivor, shared her battle with breast cancer with fellow Avon Walkers, Crew, family and friends: “I knew I had the strength to face breast cancer and beat it,” said Reynolds. “My diagnosis encouraged me to look at my family tree, leading me to undergo genetic testing, which came back positive for the BRCA gene. Throughout my experience, the strength I found within opened my eyes to all of those who don’t have access to the resources I did, and that is why I walk. That is why we all walk – to raise money for people in need.”

Marc Hurlbert, executive director of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, announced during the Closing Ceremony a total of $2.37 million in grants to eight local organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the community. “One thing that sets the Avon Walk apart is that participants get to see their hard work pay off right away,” said Hurlbert. “These grants represent only a portion of the funding the Avon Foundation will distribute in the Midwest and across the country this year, but we want to make sure that the impact of this Walk begins today.”

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

  • The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University, home of an Avon Foundation Breast Care Center of Excellence and the Avon Breast Cancer Research Laboratories, received a grant for $750,000. The grant will provide access to breast care for low-income women at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Erie Family Health Center. It will also support three research projects to identify new therapies to fight breast cancer and lower breast cancer risk.
  • Washington University in St. Louis received a $150,000 research grant that will fund the development of a standardized diagnostic test that measures a specific marker of how fast a breast cancer tumor is growing and whether it will respond to treatment.
  • The Center for Advancing Innovation received a $150,000 research grant to help evaluate the progress of 64 Avon Foundation-funded projects working to develop a new blood test for breast cancer, including tests targeting who in the general population is at risk of breast cancer, what pre-cancers like DCIS will become invasive cancer, and what cancers will spread and metastasize to other parts of the body.

The following grants are part of the Avon Safety Net Hospital Program, which funds projects that help ensure access to quality breast cancer care, screening and treatment, regardless of a person’s insurance status or ability to pay. Following are the Chicago-area Safety Net grants awarded:

  • Rush Copley Foundation received a $200,000 grant to support the purchase of Tomosynthesis equipment to enhance the breast imaging services that are available to underserved women
  • Mercy Hospital and Medical Center received a $215,000 grant for continued support of its Breast Cancer Navigation Program, which helps to ensure that all patients are able to access the care they need.
  • Stroger Hospital received a $250,000 grant to continue support of the Breast Cancer Risk Program, which provides breast cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling and testing and access to research projects and registries regarding hereditary breast cancer for the medically underserved in Cook County.
  • The Helping Her Live program at Sinai Urban Health Institute, received a $250,000 grant to assist with its efforts to conduct comprehensive “community navigation” outreach to black, Latina and other low-income women in Chicago’s North Lawndale and Humboldt Park neighborhoods. The program will educate more than 25,000 men and women and link thousands of women to screening, diagnostic testing and treatment services at Sinai Urban Health Institute and other Avon Safety Net Hospitals in the Chicago-area.
  • The Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force received a $400,000 grant to fund the continuation of its leading efforts to reduce Chicago’s black:white disparity in breast cancer mortality. Established in 2008, the Task Force began with the help of a $1 million award from the Avon Foundation. Last year, the Task Force’s founder, Dr. Steve Whitman of Sinai Urban Health Institute, released a seminal study on the black:white disparity in breast cancer deaths in the top 25 cities. 

An additional eight community organizations in the Midwest will receive Avon Foundation support in 2013 through the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program, which funds organizations that work to ensure women in at-risk populations are educated about and have access to regular breast cancer screenings, including:

  • The Breakfast Club Inc. – Florissant, Mo.
  • Centro De Salud Y Esperanza – Chicago
  • Chinese American Services League – Chicago
  • Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation – La Crosse, Wis.
  • Southern Illinois Healthcare – Herrin, Ill.
  • Westside Health Authority – Chicago
  • Xilin Association – Naperville, Ill.
  • YWCA of St. Joseph – St Joseph, Mich.

About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Chicago
The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Chicago, the fourth of eight 2013 Avon Walks, began on Saturday, June 1 with an inspirational opening ceremony at the Soldier Field Stadium Green. Walkers began their journey of up to 26.2 miles on Saturday through the greater Chicago-area, supported by an all-volunteer crew and cheered on by family, friends, and supporters along the route. Participants spent the night at the Walk’s “Wellness Village“ at Horner Park on the North Side of Chicago, featuring pink two-person tents, hot showers, hot meals, entertainment, volunteer medical services, as well as leisure activities such as yoga and a spa zone with mini back and foot massages.

On Sunday, June 2, after completing the Avon Walk’s final 13.1 miles – for a total of up to 39.3 miles over the course of the weekend – participants joined family and friends to celebrate their achievement at a closing ceremony back at the Soldier Field Stadium Green. At the ceremony, the Avon Foundation awarded new grants to Chicago-area breast cancer organizations to ensure the funds raised immediately benefit the community.

Registration is open for women and men to take part in the remaining 2013 Avon Walks in the following cities: Santa Barbara (September 7-8), San Francisco (September 28-29), New York City (October 19-20), and Charlotte (October 26-27). 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, Tiger Balm and Quill.com, Local Sponsors: Superior Ambulance, Classic Party Rentals and Stewarts and Medical Sponsor: Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

REMEMBER, EARLY DETECTION HELPS SAVE LIVES. Get a mammogram. Know your breasts and report any changes to your doctor. Talk to your doctor about your risk. And encourage women around you to do the same. Don’t forget, men can get breast cancer, too. 
For breast cancer information and resources, visit avonfoundation.org.