More than 2,200 Women and Men conquered 39.3-miles to crush breast cancer

Chicago, IL, June 7, 2015AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer, formerly known as the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, continued this weekend in Chicago raising $5 million to accelerate breast cancer research; improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment; and educate people about breast cancer. 

AVON 39 Chicago – the fourth of seven events across the country to unveil the new theme #Powerof39 – drew more than 2,200 participants from 43 states and Washington, D.C., including 296 breast cancer survivors and 334 men.

“We were thrilled to continue the AVON 39 series in Chicago this weekend and reveal new event elements,” said Jill Surdyka, AVON 39 National Ambassador. “This weekend, AVON 39ers united in solidarity and raised funds with one common goal: to end breast cancer. The grants distributed today will help us to further our goal in providing services to those in need, educating the public and crushing breast cancer once and for all. The dedication, enthusiasm and spirit of our participants is undeniable – and we’re extremely grateful for their ongoing support.”

Chicago AVON 39er, Angie Lopez, shared her moving story and battle with breast cancer to fellow participants, volunteers, family and friends. “So much in life is unexpected. I never expected to leave my hometown of Chicago to start a new life in Las Vegas, only to find out that I had breast cancer. I never expected that my sister Renee would also be diagnosed a few days before I was. And I certainly did not expect that after undergoing a double mastectomy, my diagnosis would turn into stage three lobular cancer,” said Lopez. “But my breast cancer diagnosis has brought me unexpected blessings. I am now closer with my family in Chicago, and I was lucky to undergo chemotherapy treatment at Northwestern-an AVON 39 beneficiary. Today, I crossed the finish line a day after my birthday, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the unexpected, because it has been better than I ever imagined.”

Jill Surdyka, AVON 39 National Ambassador, announced nine new grants to local breast cancer organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the local community. Additional grants will be awarded throughout the year, adding to the more than $60.64 million donated by the Avon Foundation for Women to organizations and institutions in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin since 2001.

Representatives from each Chicagoland organization received grants on stage at the AVON 39 closing ceremony. They thanked participants for their commitment to ending breast cancer and for their spectacular fundraising achievements. All Avon Safety Net and Breast Cancer Outreach Program grantees commit to providing their services to everyone – no matter their insurance status, demographic background or ability to pay.

Northwestern University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the AVON 39 Chicago’s medical sponsor, received a grant of $500,000 to support access to care through the Erie Family Health Center and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as research projects studying obesity as a risk factor for breast cancer.

Avon Foundation Breast Health Outreach Program, represented by the Xilin Association, received a grant of $321,800. The grant will support eight grass roots organizations in the Midwest to provide breast health outreach and education and link people to necessary services. Nationwide, this program links more than 50,000 underserved women to screening services per year and educates 7.5 million more about breast health.

Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University received a grant of $300,000 to support a clinical trial studying ways to use a patient’s immune system to fight metastatic breast cancer.

University of Chicago received a grant of $300,000 to test the effects that various drugs have on metastatic breast cancer cells with the goal of developing new treatments.

Sinai Health System received a grant of $250,000 to continue its patient navigation and intensive community outreach programs to reduce disparities in screening and care for African American and Latina women.

• Mercy Hospital & Medical Center received a grant of $200,000 to purchase a new ultrasound machine for use in its breast clinic and to provide patient navigation services.

Sinai Urban Health Institute received a grant of $200,000 to support three research projects studying breast cancer disparities in different populations to help find a way to eliminate them.

Loretto Hospital received a grant of $100,000 to provide breast cancer education and patient navigation to underserved women living in Chicago’s Austin Community and the surrounding area.

John J. Stroger Jr. Hospital received a $75,000 to grant provide state of the art breast cancer risk assessment; genetic counseling and testing; and access to research projects regarding hereditary breast cancer to medically underserved people in Cook County.

Event Details and Exciting New Elements

AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer Chicago began on Saturday, June 6 at 6:30 a.m. with an inspirational opening ceremony at Soldier Field Stadium Green. During the opening ceremony, participants received woven ribbon wristbands, called connection bands, to showcase who they are walking for. Participants then walked 26.2 miles through the Chicagoland area, supported by an all-volunteer crew and cheered on by supporters. They spent Saturday night at Basecamp 39, which was located at Horner Park, and featured pink two-person tents, hot showers, meals, and entertainment. New elements to the campgrounds included a temporary tattoo parlor, assorted games, and nightly entertainment. A special tent, Lounge 39, also allowed participants to relax.

On Sunday, June 7 after completing the final 13.1 miles, participants joined family and friends to celebrate their achievement at a closing ceremony at Soldier Field Stadium Green where the new grants were awarded. A DJ was onsite as participants crossed the finish line and received finisher metals as a new keepsake of their accomplishment.

Get Involved with AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer

The 2015 season is open for registration. Upcoming events will take place in San Francisco (July 11-12); Santa Barbara (September 12-13); and New York (October 17-18).  For more information about AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer, visit www.avon39.org or join the #Powerof39 conversation on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, and YouTube.

About the Avon Foundation for Women

The Avon Foundation for Women is the world’s largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women.  Since its inception in 1955, the Avon Foundation has promoted or aided charitable, scientific, educational, and humanitarian activities, with a special emphasis on activities that improve the lives of women and their families. Through 2014, Avon global philanthropy, led by the Avon Foundation, has donated nearly $1 billion in more than 50 countries for causes most important to women. Today, Avon philanthropy focuses on funding breast cancer research and access to care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Visit www.avonfoundation.org for more information.

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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.

AVON 39 Thanks National Sponsor Reebok, Official Sponsors Tiger Balm and Cadillac, and Local Sponsors Superior Ambulance Service, Classic Party Rentals Event Specialists, Go Go Squeez, Northwestern Medicine, The Great American Bagel, and Old Chicago Coffee.