Nearly 2,300 Women and Men conquered 39.3-miles to crush breast cancer

Santa Barbara, CA September 13, 2015AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer, formerly known as the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, kicked off its 13th annual event in Santa Barbara, California this weekend raising more than $5.3 million to accelerate breast cancer research;  improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment; and educate people about breast cancer.

AVON 39 Santa Barbara – the sixth of seven events across the country to unveil the new theme #Powerof39 – drew nearly 2,300 participants from 44 states and Washington, D.C., including 341 breast cancer survivors and 275 men.

“We were thrilled to continue the AVON 39 series in Santa Barbara this weekend,” said Olive Isaacs, AVON 39 National Ambassador. “This weekend, nearly 2,300 AVON 39ers united in solidarity and raised funds with one common goal: to end breast cancer. The grants given today will help us do just that – and 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.”

During the Closing Ceremony at Carpinteria State Beach, second-time AVON 39er, Amanda Gatto, 27, of Fontana, Calif., shared her moving story and battle with breast cancer to fellow participants, volunteers, family and friends. “Five years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, following in my grandmother’s footsteps. It was sad but expected, as breast cancer ran in my family. She was optimistic, and she said her strength and her inspiration to beat this disease came from her mom. Two years later, I received my very own diagnosis at 24. My fiancée and I quickly got married and went on a honeymoon, pretending to be a ‘normal newlywed couple.’ Before beginning my chemotherapy treatments, however, my mother told me she had a reoccurrence. We lost her six months later. My grandmother passed down her strength to my mom, and my mom passed her strength and determination on to me. If I’m lucky enough, I’ll be able to pass it down to the next generation.  We need to end breast cancer once and for all, and that’s why I took this journey with the AVON 39 this weekend.”

Olive Isaacs, AVON 39 National Ambassador, announced eleven 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 $43 million donated by the Avon Foundation for Women to organizations and institutions in Southern California since 2003.

Representatives from each Southern California 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.

  • UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center, home of an Avon Breast Cancer Center of Excellence, received a $600,000 grant to support the “Avon Cares for Life” program, which provides comprehensive patient-centered services, including patient navigation, referral coordination, psychosocial services, and genetic counseling to underserved communities in Northern Los Angeles.  The Avon Center has navigated more than 1,500 breast cancer patients since 2006.
  • Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope received a $75,000 grant to provide lymphedema education, prevention, and management for rural breast cancer patients through telehealth services.
  • Breast Cancer Resource Center received a $25,000 grant to provide breast health education and access to screening to underserved, low-income women in Santa Barbara County.
  • Cancer Center of Santa Barbara received a grant of $100,000 to continue its patient navigation program that will link more than 900 breast cancer patients to care programs this year.
  • Cedars – Sinai Medical Center received a $300,000 grant to help with the development of a new therapy for breast cancer metastasis, which will target breast cancer cells that have spread to the brain.
  • Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation received a $375,000 grant to support research to create a digital resource for patients and caregivers. The funds will also help the organization execute two research projects – one documenting quality of life issues faced by metastatic breast cancer patients, and the second to better understand the anatomy of the breast.
  • John Wayne Cancer Institute received a $400,000 grant to share results of the Avon Virus & Breast Cancer Consortium and to support a project investigating a novel target in breast cancer cells that may help prevent metastasis.
  • Northridge Hospital Foundation received a grant of $100,000 to provide thousands of low-income women in the San Fernando Valley with breast health education, access to screening, diagnostics, and improved care through its Patient Navigator Program at Leavey Cancer Center.
  • Project Angel Food, the AVON 39 Santa Barbara’s food sponsor, received a grant of $125,000 to serve more than 175 breast cancer clients this year, providing more than 50,000 meals.
  • San Antonio Community Hospital received a grant of $100,000 to provide breast health navigation services to ensure that every patient receives high quality and timely care.
  • The University of Southern California received a $400,000 grant to provide access to breast cancer screening and prevention to uninsured, high risk women in Los Angeles and will support a research project looking to develop a new treatment for metastatic breast cancer.

Event Details and Exciting New Elements

AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer Santa Barbara began on Saturday, September 12 at 6:30 a.m. with an inspirational opening ceremony at Chase Palm Park. AVON 39 participants began their challenge of 26.2 miles through the Santa Barbara area, assisted by an all-volunteer crew and cheered on by supporters. Participants spent Saturday night at Basecamp 39 at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, featuring pink two-person tents, hot showers and meals, entertainment and volunteer medical services, as well as leisure activities.

On Sunday, September 13, after completing the final 13.1 miles, participants joined family and friends to celebrate their achievement at a closing ceremony at Carpinteria State Beach at 2:30 p.m. During the ceremony, the Avon Foundation awarded new grants to Santa Barbara area breast cancer organizations to ensure the funds raised will benefit the community immediately.

Get Involved with AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer

The 2015 season is still open for registration. This year’s final event will take place in 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.

###

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 PL$, The Company Store, Medical Sponsor John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Supplier Sponsors American Medical Response, Go Go Squeez and Opening Ceremony Coffee Don Francisco’s Coffee.