More Than 1,000 Women and Men Join Together to Participate in the 39.3-mile Walk; Seven Local Breast Cancer Organizations Receive Grants
Houston, TX, April 21, 2013 – The 11th annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season kicked off with the sixth annual Avon Walk in Houston this weekend, which raised $2.1 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. The Avon Walk Houston attracted 1,000 participants from 25 states and Washington, D.C., including 151 breast cancer survivors, who joined together to raise life-saving funds and awareness for breast cancer.
During the closing ceremony at Stude Park, Tricia Opincar of Magnolia, Texas, a one-and-a-half year breast cancer survivor, emotionally shared her breast cancer journey with fellow walkers, volunteers, family and friends.
“When I walked my first Avon Walk in 2009, I had absolutely no connection to breast cancer,” said Opincar. “In October of 2011, my scheduled mammogram triggered a follow-up ultrasound. And then I got the call from my doctor that informed me that I had breast cancer. While going through chemo and radiation and seeing those around me who could benefit from the lifesaving funds the Avon Walk raises, I knew I had to raise more. As of today, I’m happy to say that I’ve raised more than $10,000 to help in the fight against breast cancer. After a year off from the Walk, I’m proud to be back because this year it was personal. This year I am a survivor.”
Carol Kurzig, President of the Avon Foundation for Women, announced during the closing ceremony a total of $1 million in grants to seven local breast cancer organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the community. “These grants represent only a portion of the funding that the Avon Foundation will distribute in Texas and across the country this year, but we want to make sure that the impact of this Walk begins today,” said Kurzig.
Following are the Texas grants announced at the Closing Ceremony:
- Baylor College of Medicine received two grants totaling $350,000. The first grant, for $150,000, will support research to detect the spread of cancer from the breast when it threatens to reach the brain. The second grant, for $200,000, will further strengthen the support provided through Baylor College of Medicine’s partnership with the Ben Taub General Hospital and the Quentin Meese Clinic.
- University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio received a $300,000 grant to support research attempting to understand what cells give rise to cancerous tumors and how to destroy them.
- The Sister’s Network, the only national African-American breast cancer survivorship organization in the county, received a $25,000 grant to provide scholarships for breast cancer survivors to attend one of ten 2013 African-American Breast Cancer Conferences, educating women in Houston and around the country.
- Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation received a $50,000 grant, which will pay for survivors and advocates to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and to publish the new findings announced at this essential symposium, making them available to scientists, advocates and survivors across the country.
Four of the grants awarded at the Closing Ceremony will fund new projects in Texas that help more women access screening and treatment as part of the Avon Safety Net Hospital Program. The Safety Net Program currently funds 55 hospitals across the country to ensure that all women have access to quality breast cancer care, regardless of whether they have health insurance or the financial resources for treatment. Safety Net grants included:
- The Breast Health Collaborative of Texas received a $50,000 grant to improve care coordination for low-income and uninsured women in Houston.
- The Methodist Hospital Research Institute received a $100,000 grant to support its Breast Health Initiative at the Denver Harbor Breast Cancer Clinic in Houston.
- The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center received a grant for $125,000 to support breast cancer nurse navigators at the Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital.
Additionally, five community organizations across Texas will receive support in 2013 from the Avon Foundation through the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program. The following organizations work hard to ensure that women in at-risk populations know about, and have access to, regular breast cancer screening:
- Alliance for Women and Children
- Asian American Health Coalition of the Greater Houston Area
- Julie Rogers Gift of Life Free Mammogram Program
- YWCA of Lubbock
- YWCA of San Antonio
About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Houston
During the Avon Walk Houston, 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, April 20, with an early morning opening ceremony at Stude Park. Immediately following the ceremony, walkers began their journey trekking through the greater Houston-area and finishing their day with fellow walkers at “Wellness Village” at Rice University. 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, April 21, walkers completed another 13.1 miles together, ending at Stude Park where they were greeted by thousands of family and friends, and celebrated the completion of their journey at a moving closing ceremony which included the awarding of new grants.
To participate in the Avon Walk Houston, each walker raised a minimum of $1,800 in donations. The Avon Foundation for Women [a 501(c)(3) public charity] raises and 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 $472 million through the dedication of more than 180,000 participating women and men from across the country, including thousands of Avon Associates and Representatives. The Avon Walk Houston was the first event of the 2013 season.
Registration is open for women and men to take part in the remaining 2013 Avon Walks in the following cities: Washington, D.C. (May 4-5), Boston (May 18-19),Chicago (June 1-2), Santa Barbara (Sept. 7-8), San Francisco (Sept. 28-29), New York City (Oct. 19-20), and Charlotte (Oct. 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, OtterBox and ORION Trading, Local Sponsors: The Egg and I, Prestigious Party Rentals, Methodist Hospital, Houston Wellness Boutique, Scott Drilling and Medical Sponsor: Baylor College of Medicine
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.